This year, young people from CYNESA-DR Congo focused their actions and researches on the discovery and highlighting of some National Parks of the DR Congo to make them more accessible to the general public. Two National Parks’ Managers have offered this opportunity to them through a three month internship training. These are notably the Kahuzi Biega National Park- PNKB and the Lomami / PNL National Park.
This paper succinctly presents the Lomami National Park, the eighth (8th) National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which was actually created in 2016 (by the Decree No. 16/024 of 19 July 2016) and in favor of which, all actors must multiply lobbying and actions.
Lomami, four in one
With a rich diversity of fauna and flora species, the PNL is the eighth National Park created by the Democratic Republic of Congo. With nearly 8,874 square kilometers (km2) of conservation area and almost triple its buffer zone area (21,880 km2), this young park is located in South Kisangani, capital of the Tshopo Province and in the North-West of Kindu City, specifically within the Maniema Province.
The DR Congo is famous for hosting five (5) endemic species in its various national parks. These animal species are namely: the bonobo (Pan paniscus), the Okapi (Okapia johnstoni), the Congolese peafowl (Afropavo congensis), the forest Elephant (Loxodontacyclotis), the fith species being the Lesula (Cercopithecus lomamiensis).
Apart from the four (4) flagship species, the Lomami National Park particularly host the Lesula (Cercopithecus lomamiensis) a species discovered in 2007 and which is endemic to forests located between the basins of Tshuapa and Lomami.
This wasteland with unique beauties is to be discovered and made discovered since these species with amazing attributes and prettiness plunges in the admiration of creation and their Creator (Master), God!
This park’s rich heritage in the heart of the country is favorable to a tourist circuit of an essentially scientific type which would encourage tourists engaged in researches to enjoy visiting and studying these four (4) species concentrated in the zone. This scientific hike would save avoid a quadruple mobility in the parks on the track of these animals.
In addition to this rich wildlife heritage, a list of other tourist attractions (landscapes, currents, natural maternity for elephants, private trees, permanent rainbow, falls, salines, rivers, drinking troughs, water sources) of the new Park.
We cannot help turning the spotlight on the 275 bird species identified like the gray parrot (Pisttacuserithacus), and the African green pigeon (Treroncalvus).
Besides these riches around which the actors involved can and must reconcile the importance of conservation and the requirements of the population‘s survival for it to build its future and that of future generations; challenges arise whereby it appears appropriate to find urgent answers for rational use of these riches to ensure better future as we care about these creatures.
The big challenge remains the ignorance by the local populations of the waste land riches. There is also a low participation of members of the scientific world. In addition to these two major challenges, there are others such as the resistance of armed poachers and poaching gangs, political tensions and geopolitical conflicts, non-appropriation of management by the local population, the practice of unregulated hunting, etc.
All of these challenges, some of which are actually dangerously threatening the Lomami Park biodiversity, have a significant impact on the conservation of its species. One of the answers to these threats would be raising young people’s awareness and interest to gain strong commitment on their part.
The growing interest in biodiversity and the environment allows today that we lay and mature thoughts but especially develop actions around issues in question. Spatial and landscape planning, knowledge of protected areas’ regulations, financing of conservation actions in these spaces and landscapes; in short, addressing issues around the governance of protected areas. This interest will allow noting progress with regard to the management of protected areas in DRC.
It would therefore be desirable to develop and nurture the spirit of discovery in the Congolese youth. This will successively help refine the knowledge of these parks and control their wealth, such that coming out of ignorance will incite them to engage more through scientific and social actions to the size of the wealth and stakes around.
To highlight the interest that must be paid to Parks and Protected Areas in DRC, two young CYNESA volunteers enrolled in master’s programs at Senghor University in Alexandria (Egypt), are working on: the legal functionality of buffer zones in the PNKB (KBNP = the Kahuzi Biega National Park/South Kivu Province) and the impact of unregulated hunting on conservation of amazing and other animal species in NLP.
Developing the tourism / ecotourism sector in these parks can now underpin the national economy and ensure sustainable development of the DRC; this country full of places with strong motives, strong qualities and “elsewhere” where all forms of tourism are possible.
It is hoped that the results of their research will allow managers at all levels to take actions necessary with regard to issues brought up in their work. The same results will also be one of the ways which will facilitate improvement of and progress in good governance of protected areas in DR Congo in particular and in Africa, in general.
Special thanks to Doctor Radar Nishuli and the Doctoral Student Deogratias Kujirakwinja. Brand of gratitude to my colleagues Lionel Bisimwa Matabaro, and Daniel Batachoka Mastaki.
Av. Lumumba 145, C/Kasuku, Kindu Town, Maniema Province, DR Congo.
Didier Mugalihya M.
@didiermugalihya, didier.mugalihya, didiermugalihya.blogspot.com, Didier Mugalihya
+243 973 017 079 (WhatsApp)
MUGALIHYA MULUMEODERHWA Didier
CYNESA Volunteer – DR Congo
Researcher to RACOD- DR Congo
Trainee to the Lomami/Maniema – Tshopo National Park – DR Congo
Master’s auditor at Senghor University Alexandria-Egypt