The Okapi Wildlife Reserve is a forest of almost 14,000km2 that contains unique biodiversity found nowhere else on earth. It is protected by a series of posts that have already been attacked in the past, and continually face threats due to rampant illegal gold mining happening in the sector. The presence of armed groups with vested interests in the mines, along with a growing itinerant mining population dependent upon wildmeat for food, contribute to the destruction of the forest.
Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed groups to take advantage of the crisis, and the risk of future attack will only increase.
The project will advance an operational strategy to disrupt illegal mining, with the aims of rehabilitating and securing the natural heritage of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve.
- Reinforce the security defenses of the two most important and vulnerable strategic posts (Zunguluka and Adusa);
- Rebuild and expand the damaged buildings at the Zunguluka post;
- Improve the logistical transport lines used to carry food and supplies;
- Conduct regular meetings with villages and local authority.
This project is a part of the IUCN SOS African Wildlife initiative, which is funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG Devco) through its B4Life initiative.