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 IGCP
  • Mountain Gorilla Craig R Sholley
  • Mountain Gorilla Craig R. Sholley
  • 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. 


  • 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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    All Projects

  • Bili-Uele Chimp Survey Cleve Hicks
    Bili-Uele Chimp Survey
    Protecting chimps in the Democratic Republic of Congo

    Humans remain a threat to chimps.

    The 60,000-square-kilometer Bili-Uélé Domaine de Chasse is the largest protected area in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and...

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    All Projects

  • Réseau Femme et Développement (REFED) or Network of Women for Development in northern DRC
    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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  • Close up of chimp in a tree.
    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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    All Projects

  • Ilima Conservation Primary School
    Ilima Conservation Primary School
    Going beyond the building to provide a holistic education in DRC

    In a remote part of rural DRC, AWF built a different kind of primary school.

    When AWF arrived in Ilima, the local school was a ramshackle building that failed to serve the educational...

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