Gray countries with texture denote areas of future engagement.


The Democratic Republic of Congo has a wealth of wildlife

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Democratic Republic of Congo


  • Quick Facts:


    234,485,800 hectares (905,355 sq. mi.)

  • Key Landmarks

    1. Zongo Falls
    2. Nyiragongo Volcano
    3. Congo River
    4. Lake Kivu
    5. Lake Tanganyika
  • Animals

    Mountain gorilla, bonobo, chimpanzee, elephant, okapi, white rhino

  • Primary Ecosystems

    Tropical and subtropical grassland, savanna, shrubland, tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest

  • Population


    Tags: DRC, West/Central Africa, Congo, Virunga, Bonobo, Elephant, Bili-Uele, Mountain Gorilla, Rhinoceros

  • Bonobo Cyril Ruoso
  • Bonobo Craig R. Sholley
  • Bonobo Craig R. Sholley
  • Bonobo John Watkins ICCE
  • Mountain Gorilla Craig R Sholley
  • Mountain Gorilla Craig R. Sholley
  • Mountain gorilla Craig R. Sholley
  • Mountain Gorilla IGCP
  • Bongo Daryl and Sharna Balfour

There are parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that do not make the news.

While much of the world is aware of their civil war and the continued growing tensions from the M23 rebels, what many may not be aware of is DRC’s ecological paradise. Located in Central Africa, DRC is the continent’s second-largest country. More than 71 million people live here—as do 1,000 bird species, more than 400 fish species, three of the world’s four great apes, and 10,000 species of plants. What’s more, it boasts the second-largest tropical forest in the world.



Fighting for its livelihood.

Civil war took its toll on innocent people and wildlife. As the M23 rebellion spreads unrest, not only are people and communities still struggling to rebuild their livelihoods and infrastructure, but certain species are inching closer to extinction. This includes the bonobos, with an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 left in the world.

This ongoing instability, poor infrastructure, and a failing economy have led to many residents hunting species in surrounding forests. Hunting for bushmeat threatens many of the DRC’s endemic species as locals trap animals for a cheap source of food.

Deforestation also remains an ongoing problem in the DRC. Slash-and-burn agriculture has destroyed many hectares of land while many farmers lack the necessary education to employ sustainable agricultural practices. 


Priority Landscapes

Will you show DRC your support?

With your help, African Wildlife Foundation can continue working on vital programs like helping farmers sell their crops in markets and reducing deforestation in critical bonobo habitat. Donate for a cause that will help the people of DRC, their land, and wildlife conservation. 


  • Congo Shipping Project Charly Facheux
    Congo Shipping Project
    Growing the DRC's agricultural options

    Civil war has led to poverty and environmental degradation. 

    Following years of social turmoil and civil war, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was left without a...

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  • LCSC Paul Thomson
    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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  • Mountain Gorilla Rangers Mohammed Hashim
    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 the...

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  • Iyondji Craig R Sholley
    Iyondji Community Bonobo Reserve
    A new community reserve for the endangered bonobo

    Bonobos in danger. 

    One of the greatest threats to wildlife in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is loss of habitat due to land conversion, human encroachment,...

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  • Student Anna Behm_Masozera IGCP
    Student Gorilla Trek
    Facilitating conservation education through interaction with wildlife

    Wildlife permits are too expensive for native Rwandans. 

    Despite living so close to the magnificent mountain gorilla, many Rwandans lack the ability to fully engage...

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