A heron in the forest

Watsi Kengo Sector

Within the heart of the Salonga National Park is the Watsi Kengo Sector – the 6,664 km2 corridor between the Salonga and Yenge Rivers. The area supports between 4,000 to 6,000 bonobos and approximately 20% of the park’s remaining elephant herd. Of special significance in the region is the Yenge River, a waterway located wholly within the park and a venue that harbors a bounty of wildlife.

During recent surveys along the Yenge, the BCBI research team identified at least five primate species, a diversity of birds (fish eagles, herons, gray parrots and hornbills, to name a few), crocodiles, otters, roosts for thousands of fruit bats, and a plethora of colorful fish. The Yenge is also notable for its many elephant bais (baths), large expanses of beach or clearings in the forest where elephants congregate. Unfortunately, poachers also have coveted many of these bais as prime hunting destinations. In recent years, ivory poaching on the Yenge reached such a high level that the region was completely off-limits to BCBI’s research team and Salonga park guards. In 2012, however, a joint anti-poaching operation by the ICCN and DRC’s national army cleared the region of poachers and restored security to the Yenge. To maintain security and control poaching, however, requires sustained vigilance by ICCN and BCBI’s continued support.

Black mangabeys
Black mangabeys
A bonobo
Female bonobo
A crested guinea fowl
Crested guinea fowl

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