The beauty of Lésio-Louna Reserve ©The Aspinall Foundation
Thanks to financial support for a twelve-month project from the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States through #BIOPAMA, our team in Congo have been able to strengthen their capacity to provide protection for the Lésio-Louna reserve. Over the years our successful reintroduction of Critically Endangered western lowland gorillas into the reserve has developed into a broader aim to support the wider diversity of the area, which has seen an increase in a number of species due to its protected status. However threats from poaching and unauthorised activities continue to have an impact. Community programmes are part of the solution but patrols, and the enforcement of the laws and regulations, are also necessary.
Monthly motorised patrols into Lésio-Louna Reserve ©The Aspinall Foundation
In this respect, over the course of this particular project, we have been able to implement the use of SMART technology on anti-poaching missions and a new all-terrain vehicle is enabling the patrol teams to access a far larger area of the reserve. This increase in the logistical capacity of our team will, of course, extend well beyond the twelve month period set for the project but already we are seeing results. In addition our increased knowledge of activities taking place within the reserve will enable us to develop increasingly effective responses.
Illegal destruction of forest area © The Aspinall Foundation
The motorised patrols provide access to the more remote areas on a regular basis and using SMART technology allows the team to accurately geo-reference ‘hotspots’ within the reserve that are most susceptible to unauthorised activities. Details of offenders are recorded and they are made aware of the regulations. In some instances arrests are made, and in all cases the team destroy camps, and confiscate items such as canoes, traps, and even weapons.
Confiscated makeshift canoe ©The Aspinall Foundation
Threats caused by human activities to areas such as the Lésio-Louna reserve have existed for generations, and will take time to resolve. In the meantime having the ability to provide effective management through regular patrols will make a significant difference to the protection of the area.
Hippos are now seen in larger numbers in the rivers of Lésio-Louna reserve
© The Aspinall Foundation
You can find out more about this project on our dedicated webpage.
The Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme assists the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to address their priorities for improved management and governance of biodiversity and natural resources. BIOPAMA provides a variety of tools, services and funding to conservation actors in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
This article has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States through the BIOPAMA Programme The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of The Aspinall Foundation and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union nor of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States.