Yenge River

Lotulo - The first patrol post on the Yenge River

Former poaching camp
A former poaching camp along the Yenge River

For the past 10 years, BCBI has focused most of its anti-poaching, guard training, and research in an area of rich biodiversity known as the Watsi Kengo Sector of the Salonga National Park. This corridor of land lies between the Salonga and Yenge Rivers located within the heart of the park. The region supports 4,000–6,000 bonobos and approximately 20% of the park’s remaining elephant herd.

For two years in 2010 and 2011, poaching gangs turned the once pristine Yenge River into a war zone. The poaching and insecurity became so severe that we had to abandon our wildlife surveys and research in the sector for 18 months; the Salonga guard patrols were virtually powerless to intervene. During this time, three Etate guards were ambushed on the Yenge River by a group of poachers who stripped them of their gear and clothing, tortured, and severely beat them. Fortunately, during the period October 2011 – to the present, a joint operation of the ICCN and Congo’s national army (FARDC) has been at work in the Salonga cleaning the region of poachers and restoring security.

Site evaluation team
Lotulo site evaluation team

Taking advantage of the hiatus in poaching resulting from the joint operation, in April 2012, BCBI worked with the ICCN and other partners to establish the first-ever patrol post on the Yenge River at a place called Lotulo. Lotulo provides a strategic and important “choke-point” for poachers entering the park via the Yenge River.

BCBI provided start-up supplies and rations and also committed funds for the first year to enable the ICCN to staff Lotulo every day, year-round. In August 2012, the Lotulo Patrol Post became fully operational. Thus far, the new post has been effective in deterring elephant poaching gangs from entering the Yenge, and all illegal fishing in the patrol area has virtually stopped.

PhotosView a slideshow of the Lotulo Patrol Post.

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