I always have a nervous sense of anticipation when I plan a trip to the interior of the Democratic Republic of Congo—more so than any other field trip for AWF. I love going to the Congo to visit our programs and field staff. The area is so remote, so rural and so unusual. DRC trips are always an adventure.
The endless expanse of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s rain forests can only be fully appreciated from the air, but the complexity of its life and the timelessness of its beauty are best grasped from the forest floor. Attempts to describe it with words alone are futile and inadequate.
Tall trees, year-round warmth, friendly faces…and bonobos as far as the eye can see. This could be the front cover of a flyer pitching a world-class holiday destination. Behind the large, stylishly designed text in Times New Roman or Verdana sits a unique photograph: an upward camera shot of a clear, blue sky beyond a dense canopy, with streams of sunlight reaching through the thickness.
Economic and social benefits for people local to conservation areas are as important to AWF’s work as protecting habitats. In fact, it can be said that they are inextricable. For, when landscape residents lack sustainable livelihood opportunities, they fall back on the forest for nearly all their primary needs. This is even truer in areas that are remote and isolated logistically.