DRC

DRC

The World Bank Group

The World Bank Group

The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. Its mission is focused on reducing global poverty and creating sustained development. 

Reason #70 to get involved

AWF protects nearly 40 % of Africa's elephants. Support our programs to stop elephant poaching and ivory trafficking.

Cross-border anti-trafficking efforts protect vulnerable wildlife and communities in Central Africa

Once a refuge to huge populations of forest and savanna elephants, chimpanzees, bongos, and elk — as well as increasingly rare big cats like leopards and lions — the Mbomou-Uele region along the Democratic Republic of Congo’s northeast border is now a shadow of its former self having lost swathes of biodiversity over decades-long civil war. Violent militias infiltrated the remote landscape encompassing the Bili-Uele Protected Area Complex, Garamba National Park in DRC as well as the Chinko reserve in eastern Central African Republic. As they wreaked havoc on villages near these protected areas and displaced thousands of people, the heavily armed rebels also decimated species for the illegal wildlife trade.

Meet the men and women fighting to protect biodiversity in DRC’s Bili-Uele landscape

Jean Niwiya has known both sides of the illegal wildlife trade. Before 2015, the 39-year-old father of eight made his living snaring small wildlife in the expansive Bili forest in the Bas-Uele Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo and selling it as bushmeat. He would mostly hunt antelopes and chimpanzees. Sometimes, he would go for bigger game, killing elephants primarily for their ivory, which he would sell for approximately US $100 per kilogram. With a tusk weighing 3 kilograms, he could feed his family for months. Niwiya did not know any other way of life.

Women-led enterprises are driving sustainable forest management in DRC

The dense tropical rainforests of Maringa-Lopori-Wamba — a biodiversity hotspot in the Congo River Basin and critical habitat for endangered bonobos — are also a valuable income-generating resource for communities. Displaced by years of political instability, people settled in the remote landscape are some of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s poorest. To scrape a living, locals clear small sections to expand their farms or cut trees to make charcoal and sell firewood. Some even resort to hunting as the illicit trade of bush meat grows.

Enhancing management and security in Bili-Uele

The Bili-Uele Protected Area Complex in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo comprises a region anchored by four protected areas totaling more than 40,000 sq. kilometers. The landscape boasts the largest population of the endangered eastern chimpanzee subspecies and one of the DRC’s last populations of the vulnerable forest elephant.

Strengthening bonobo conservation through satellite technology

Close-up photo of young bonobo on bamboo shoot
      

Compared to Africa’s other great apes, the bonobo has been relatively less studied. Its geographic range stretches 500,000 square kilometers across the Democratic Republic of Congo’s remotest tropical forests — difficult to reach areas with a history of regional political unrest. As such, research on bonobo ecological preferences, habitat use, and distribution has been mostly limited to small areas accessible by foot. However, with increased pressure from hunting and habitat degradation facing this endangered great ape, further study has become increasingly critical.

Access to agricultural markets restores biodiversity in Lomako

Photo of AWF-funded barge used to transport agricultural produce to markets along Congo and Maringa Rivers
         

Following years of social turmoil and civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, people living along the banks of the Congo and Maringa Rivers had few economic opportunities. When African Wildlife Foundation began working in the Lomako landscape in 2003, the organization prioritized local livelihood improvement via sustainable agriculture production as a critical necessity for conservation.