Gray countries with texture denote areas of future engagement.

Congo

In Central and West Africa, people are overcoming obstacles to rebuild and regain stability

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West/Central Africa

Land

  • Quick Facts:

    Area

     103,268,253 hectares (3,987,190 sq. mi.)

  • Key Landmarks

    1. Congo Basin
    2. Lopori River
    3. Maringa River
    4. Maringa/Lopori–Wamba Landscape
    5. Volcanoes National Park 
    6. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
    7. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park 
    8. Virunga National Park
    9. Niger River
    10. Mékrou River
    11. Parc du W–Arly–Pendjari (Parc W)
  • Animals

    West African giraffe, mountain gorilla, bonobo, chimpanzee, elephant, white rhino, forest elephant, bongo, Congo peacock, colobus monkey, lion, hippopotamus, buffalo, cheetah, leopard, 

  • Primary Ecosystems

    Savanna, tropical and subtropical forest, grasslands, shrubland

    Tags: Benin, Burkina Faso, DRC, Niger, Rwanda, Uganda, Bili-Uele, Congo, Faro, Regional Parc W, Virunga

Gallery
  • Bonobo John Watkins ICCE
  • Bonobo Cyril Ruoso
  • Bonobo Craig R. Sholley
  • Bonobo Craig R. Sholley
  • Mountain Gorilla Craig R Sholley
  • Mountain Gorilla Craig R. Sholley
  • Mountain gorilla Craig R. Sholley
  • Mountain Gorilla IGCP
  • Bongo Daryl and Sharna Balfour
  • Bongo Daryl and Sharna Balfour
  • Bongo Daryl and Sharna Balfour
  • Bongo Craig R. Sholley
  • Congo Shipping Project Charly Facheux
  • Congo Shipping Project Charly Facheux
  • Congo Shipping Project Charly Facheux
  • Congo Shipping Project Charly Facheux
  • Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge Governors Camp Collection
  • Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge AWF
  • Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge Governors Camp Collection
  • Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge Craig R. Sholley
  • Chimpanzee David Thomson
  • Chimpanzee AWF
  • Chimpanzee Craig R. Sholley
  • Chimpanzee Craig R. Sholley
  • Benin
  • Benin
  • Benin
  • ParcW Camera AWF
  • ParcW Camera AWF
  • ParcW Camera AWF
  • West African Giraffe John Butler
  • West African Giraffe Etotépé Sogbohossou
  • West African Giraffe Etotépé Sogbohossou
  • West African Giraffe Julian Fennessey
  • Bwindi Census Anna Behm Masozera IGCP
  • Bwindi Census Anna Behm Masozera IGCP
  • LCSC Paul Thomson
  • LCSC AWF
  • LCSC AWF
  • LCSC Andrew Fowler
  • Mountain Gorilla Rangers Stephen Ham
  • Mountain Gorilla Rangers Paul Thomson
  • Mountain Gorilla Rangers Paul Thomson
  • Land for Livestock Stefan de Greling
  • Land for Livestock Stefan de Greling
  • Land for Livestock Stefan de Greling
  • Iyondji Craig R. Sholley
  • Iyondji AWF
  • Iyondji Brenda Brainch
  • Iyondji Craig R. Sholley
  • Student Gorilla Trek Anna Behn Mosazera IGCP
  • Student Gorilla Trek Anna Behn Mosazera IGCP
  • Student Gorilla Trek Anna Behn Mosazera IGCP
  • Student Gorilla Trek Anna Behn Mosazera IGCP
  • Bili-Uele Chimp Survey Cleve Hicks
  • Bili-Uele Chimp Survey AWF
  • Bili-Uele Chimp Survey AWF
  • Bili-Uele Chimp Survey Cleve Hicks
  • Uganda Biodiversity Through Tourism Craig R Sholley
  • Uganda Biodiversity Through Tourism Charles Steinberg
  • Uganda Biodiversity Through Tourism Philip Muruthi
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Cameroon
  • Cameroon
  • Cameroon
  • DRC Craig R. Sholley
  • DRC Kathleen Fitzgerald
  • Niger Shana Laursen
  • Niger Stefan de Greling
  • Niger Helen Gichohi
  • Niger David Williams
  • Rwanda Governors Camp Collection
  • Rwanda Cardo Kleberg
  • Rwanda Governors Camp Collection
  • Rwanda Craig R. Sholley
  • Congo Craig R. Sholley
  • Congo Craig R. Sholley
  • Congo Craig R. Sholley
  • Congo Craig R. Sholley
  • Congo AWF
  • Congo Craig R. Sholley
  • Congo Craig R. Sholley
  • Cameroon Kathleen Fitzgerald
  • Cameroon Kathleen Fitzgerald
  • Cameroon Kathleen Fitzgerald
  • Cameroon Jef Dupain
  • Northern DRC Jef Dupain
  • Northern DRC Kathleen Fitzgerald
  • Northern DRC Craig R. Sholley
  • Northern DRC Craig R. Sholley
  • Parc W John Butler
  • Parc W Shana Laursen
  • Parc W David Williams
  • Parc W David Williams
  • Virunga Craig R. Sholley
  • Virunga Craig R. Sholley
  • African forest elephant calf
  • African Forest Elephant
  • West African Giraffe
  • West African Giraffe
  • West African Giraffe
  • West African Giraffe
  • West African Giraffe
Overview
  • Central Africa is usually considered to include:

    Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda. This region has experienced multiple civil wars and the destruction of communities, the environment, and natural resources that come with them.

  • As the region strives to rebuild, it faces new challenges.

    Creating sustainable livelihoods for its people while putting in place conservation strategies that help preserve the land and its wildlife is critical.

  • The most densely populated area of Africa, West Africa, usually includes:

    Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

  • Struggling to rebuild, the region continues to suffer a food-shortage crisis.

    War-torn West Africa has experienced severe civil war conflicts since colonial independence. It is predicted West Africans will endure extreme water shortages before the end of this decade.

Challenges

What happens in Central Africa impacts all of us.

One of the greatest challenges for Central Africa continues to be deforestation. Home to the second-largest tropical forest in the world, the Congo Basin directly contributes to global climate change. Currently, it is unique in the sheer amount of carbon dioxide it absorbs. Deforestation, on the other hand, releases carbon. Because the Congo Basin is so vast, deforestation here could increase climate change globally if left unchecked. Another challenge for Central Africa is rebuilding after years of civil unrest. Addressing the livelihood and infrastructure needs of millions of people goes hand in hand with conservation. 

West Africa may be full of natural beauty, but it is not in abundance when it comes to its giraffes and clean water.

The remaining West African giraffe population—often called white giraffes because of their light-colored spots—has been crippled, largely because their natural habitat has been degraded over the years by human activity.

The people of West Africa already face a number of challenges, including competition over limited land, and food and clean-water shortages. Due to extremely low rainfall, communities in West Africa are unable to grow their crops in abundance. Many people struggle to get access to clean drinking water. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that more than 1,000 people in this region die every day from unsafe water.

Projects

Will you show Central and West Africa your support?

With your help, African Wildlife Foundation can continue working on vital programs like helping West African giraffes thrive by creating ecological buffer zones surrounding parks or reducing deforestation in areas critical to endangered species. Learn more about our projects that will help people, land, and wildlife conservation in Central Africa and West Africa.

  • Lomako Conservation Science Center
    Research and solutions for bonobo populations

    Loss of habitat and a skyrocketing bushmeat trade have taken a toll on bonobo populations.

    According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN’s)...

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  • REFED
    Empowering women in Central Africa.

    War has destroyed much of DRC’s infrastructure. 

    Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have faced many challenges as a result of ongoing conflict and social...

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  • Mountain Gorilla Rangers
    Gorillas face peril

    Fewer than 900 mountain gorillas exist today.

    Mountain gorillas remain exceedingly endangered and live in only one area—the Virunga Heartland. This landscape spans...

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    All Projects

  • African Apes Initiative
    Saving Africa’s great apes from the brink of extinction.

    All of Africa’s great ape species are either endangered or critically endangered.

    Africa is home to four of the world’s five great apes: the...

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  • Land for Livestock
    Balancing the land needs of farmers, herders, and wildlife

    Livestock is a vital livelihood for people in West Africa. So is farming.

    As competition over land and natural resources grows, pressure on protected areas and...

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