This nirvana for nature-lovers is situated in the heart of the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world, harbouring approximately 22,000 western lowland gorillas, elusive forest elephants and approximately 444 bird species. Beneath the candescent canopy, an unparalleled level of floral diversity creates a breath-taking landscape in which some the planet’s rarest and most enigmatic species can be found.

Ivory and bushmeat poaching remain a constant threat, but with over 100 eco-guards patrolling the 13,500 km² park African Parks is working to protect the parks’s iconic wildlife. We have recruited, trained and deployed many new rangers to monitor the salt licks where animals congregate. This not only deters poaching but habituates wildlife to human presence, boosting the park’s tourism appeal.

By working closely with local communities and implementing innovative solutions to curb poaching, including mobile healthcare units for surrounding communities and gorilla habituation programs to increase tourism, these projects are yielding impressive results for the long-term sustainability of the park.

Highlights

  • Firearms have been confiscated through the audacious “poacher-to-protector” programme. This initiative gives poachers an opportunity to become park rangers in exchange for weapons and information and has resulted in a large number of arrests, convictions and has made great strides in clamping down on poaching.
  • Rangers in Odzala were able to arrest a high-profile elephant poacher in 2016, and thanks to collaboration with the Mbombo village, accomplices were also arrested and handed over to authorities
  • Central Africa is at the centre of the bushmeat crisis where snares and poaching are rampant, in 2016 Odzala confiscated 26 tonnes of bushmeat and 34,810 rounds of ammunition
  • Wildlife populations are showing signs of recovery, 11 forest elephants are being monitored with satellite collars. Since the introduction of effective law enforcement, many forest elephants have moved back into the park area.
  • A gorilla habituation programme, carried out by the research and monitoring team, is yielding positive results.
  • The mobile clinic completed its second year in 2016, visiting 39 villages and delivering treatment to 227 people.
  • A livelihood diversification project has seen the planting of 40,000 cocoa saplings outside the park, providing an alternative revenue stream to illegal bushmeat poaching.
  • The park has two upmarket tourist lodges, Lango and Ngaga Camps, as well as the Mboko
  • A female eco-monitor has been trained in hand-rearing and animal care for confiscated or injured wildlife to ensure their survival.

Partners

Odzala-Kokoua National Park is managed by the Odzala Fondation – a partnership between African Parks and the Congolese government. African Parks took over the management of Odzala-Kokoua in November 2010 under the terms of the partnership agreement with the Government of the Republic of Congo.

Partners