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Kahuzi-Biega National Park


Kahuzi-Biega National Park
© Peter Howard, African Natural Heritage
Kahuzi-Biéga National Park encompasses a montane and a lowland area, covered by primary tropical forest that is one of the last refuges of the endangered Eastern Lowland Gorilla. The Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) is the largest subspecies of the Gorilla and the largest living primate. They are predominantly herbivorous, eating mostly leaves. They tend to be sociable and very peaceful, living in groups of 5 to 30.

A status report on the park provided by the DR of Congo in 2008 mentions 125 gorillas still living in the mountains, and 31 in the lowlands. They are threatend by the high population density, mining and the presence of Rwandan Interahamwe.

Prior to the conflicts in Congo and Rwanda of the 1990's, an estimated 600 gorillas remained throughout the range. The ongoing fighting in the Congo has moved within the boundaries of the park causing looting, burning of the forest, and poaching of the animals. Consequently the park was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger in 1997.

The park is located in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, near to the western side of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. It is named after two extinct volcanoes, Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biéga. Other primates in the park include eastern chimpanzee, elephant, forest hog, antelope, giant gennet, Aquatic civet, Maclaud's horseshoe bat, Ruwenzori least otter shrew, owl-faced monkey, eastern needle-clawed galago, Thomas' tree squirrel and Alexander's bush squirrel.



Reviews

Gloria (DRCongo):
Kahuzi Biega national covers several varieties of the African wild life. I have visited the park two month ago and it was a pleasure to see Gorilla for my first time. The security situation is becoming better as rebellions are leaving the park and local population have now noticed the importance of the forest.
I love tourism in the natural area, It could be nice if decision and strategies can be make to upgrade the status of the world heritage site in RDC. Its painful surveying the status of all protected areas, animals are being killed, trees are cut, etc
Please if you are reading me and in any kind you can sensitize people around you, tell them that the parks is all left for us as natural places in world filled with big building, industries, modern staff and so on. so please let conserve it.
Date posted: November 2013
James Jamala Safari (South Africa):
I am a Congolese currently living in South Africa where I am studying Biotechnology at the University of the Western Cape. I am coming precisely from the South Kivu region where the Kahuzi-Biega national Park is located.
I leaved in Lwiro where I was doing Biodiversity and Nature Conservation, a degree that unfortunately I didn’t finish.
In 2005, I went in the Kahuzi-Biega National park several times. This park is a real heritage that our planet still have, to save it or to protect is species both it fauna and flora is to guaranty the humankind a fresh air and new filed of research during this critical time that the planet if facing due to climate change and pollution.
Let together save the flora and fauna of the Kahuzi-Biega national park.

Thanks to all those who have invested their time and money for the protection and conservation the Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
Date posted: June 2008
Innocent Balagizi Karhagomba (Dem.Rep.of Congo):
Establishment of an Environmental Education Centre around the Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Sud-Kivu, Dem.Rep. of Congo.


BACK-GROUND

Kahuzi Biega National Park (KBNP) is recorded among the biggest national parks in the Eastern part of the DRCongo. It is located in the western part of the Rift Albertine region with 6,000 sqkm bearing a special statuts of World Heritage Site of the IUCN. The KBNP is covered by the rainforest extended between 600m and 3308m above sea level, with six different primary vegetation types harboring an extremely rich plant biodiversity with many endemic woody plant species (Steinhauer et al, 1995). The natural habitats of KBNP are a biological and physical support of the survival of the mountain gorilla (Gorilla gorilla graueri), which is one of the most flagship species in eastern Democratic republic of Congo, and an effective target for much of the current conservation investment in the area.

Very few information about the biological diversity of the KBNP is disseminated towards local communities where such dramatical ecological situations are seen:
- High human population densities (124 hab/sqkm) with an increasingly demand to living space and expansion of agriculture in communities around the park leading to over-use of existing natural resources
- Thousands of Orphans below 15 years old have been made from wars or tropical diseases (including HIV-AIDS) and are still lack of proper education and protection in the Eastern Dem. Rep. of Congo.
- High rate of poverty within KBNP neighboring communities leading to social conflicts and over-uses of Natural resources.
- Limited access of local communities to biodiversity and environmental information due to deficiency of appropriate communication techniques and high rate of illiteracy.
- Lack of training and skills in Environmental management and conservation programmes in the majority of development and social workers, and in policy makers regarding the KBNP.
- As results, conversion of tropical forest around the KBNP into farmlands, micro-enterprises for charcoal and hard-rocks mining

Thus, KBNP is ranked among the World heritage sites in peril.

In general, this dramatical situation is linked to main factors as follows:
- High human population densities (124 hab/sqkm) with an increasingly demand to living space and expansion of agriculture in communities around the park leading to over-use of existing natural resources
- High rate of poverty within KBNP neighboring communities leading to social conflicts and over-uses of Natural resources.
- Limited access of local communities to biodiversity and environmental information due to deficiency of appropriate communication techniques and high rate of illiteracy.
- Lack of training and skills in Environmental management and conservation programmes in the majority of development and social workers, and in policy makers regarding the KBNP.

Our thoughts join the idea of creating a Centre of Environmental Interpretation for the conservation of the KBNP’s resources.

The project aims to achieve long-term conservation of the park by increasing awareness and appreciation towards the KBNP among visitors from urban and peri-urban areas as well as neighboring rural communities.
Dealing with the Community based conservation approaches, it targets to establish the basic framework of a regional Environmental Interpretation Service in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The project focuses on information dissemination and awareness building through a three-sided approach:
• Establish a functioning environment information and public awareness program
• Establish infrastructure for the program ( housing, visual communication equipment
• Build adequate capacity to run the awareness program.
• Empower the youth from ground levels to preserve, protect and conserve natural resources for their promising future.

The main components of the project consist of Education and awareness campaigns for the local people, preparation of varied resource materials for wider dissemination among all members of the community, including pupils, teachers, as well as researchers, students and in a various non-formal education activities for children above 3 years old, young people and adults, and to increase the capacity building of the park staff and guides and tours operators by means of training.
Therefore the Centre seeks to engage a highly trained team to run activities involving technicians in Environmental Sciences, Teachers, Researchers, Ecologists, Artists, as well as Rural development technicians, the KBNP staff.
The centre intends to:
- Secure effective environmental information flow between different target groups for the friendly co-management of KBNP as a protected area
- Promote environmental education within formal and non-formal educational system in diversity of forms and subjects.
- Promote public and each individual participation in decision making processes on the conservation of natural resources.
- Contribute to the success of the Congo-Kinshasa target for stop poaching on Apes by 2015
- Interact formal research and community outreach for the sustainable use of biodiversity
- Contribute to the success of the Kyoto protocol

Location

The Centre is built and located within the Katana region. Katana is a rural area. The Population has a high density and develop a highly threat rates to KBNP resources since the livelihood of people lies on a direct use of Natural resources.. The advantage is that this site is located in between the lake Kivu ( East) and the park ( West) and near the Lwiro Centre of Research on Natural Sciences (CRSN).

The project will be of great positive impact :
- Local communities: improvement of land-use management, increasing of knowledge and skills through visual communication, more positive social interactions through exchanges and workshop.
- The protected area authority: significantly decreasing of human pressure on the KBNP
- Universities and schools: provision of documentation, and teaching materials.
- Children that they can pay get education and fight Hunger and Poverty through micro-farming activities to be developed within the centre.

Activities to develop in the Centre

For the achievement of the assigned objectives, following activities are defined as follows:
• Exhibitions of wonders and biological diversity of the KBNP: field colour guides, wall fixed panels, developing posters on Ecosystems functioning, natural habitats, environment, geography and history of the park, as well as collections of flowers, seeds, and other attractive materials from the wildlife, … , in a built nature interpretation in Katana.
• Creation of a Environmental Kindergarden “ MARAFIKI WA MAZINGIRA”
• Production of Loan-teaching material for school groups displaying interpretation of the wealth of plants and wildlife and natural resources management (games, tales, songs, booklets,…)
• Organization of a library for students, local communities, stake holders about the biodiversity of KBNP and environment (in Bukavu town and in Katana region).
• Training course for environmental interpreters
• Running workshops of Environmental management and Biodiversity Conservation.
• Support Touring in the park for students, pupils, stakeholders
• Mounting an artificial forest simulating habitats of the park from broad leave trees from the park for exhibitions
• Small-scale farming in the Kindergarten and tree planting

First group of participants ( 6-12 years), 70 % can not go to school


Responsability of the project

Organization for Conserving Environnement within the Kivu
OCEK, Sud-Kivu, Dem.Rep.Congo
Email: environnement_kivu@yahoo.fr
C/O. Box. 373 Cyangugu –Rwanda
Project Director: Innocent Balagizi Karhagomba
Email: balkarh@yahoo.fr


Collaboration Teams

Dialog International e.V
Karolingerstr, 16 D-40094 Dusseldorf, Germany
Email: heinz.rothenpieler@dialog-international.org

Institut Congolais pour la conservation de la nature (ICCN)
Parc national de Kahuzi Biega, Bukavu, D.R.Congo


Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles (CRSN)
Lwiro, DS. Bukavu, D.R.Congo
Email: bdepartement@yahoo.fr

Waldspielgruppe Kreuzau Bahnhofstr7
D52372 Kreuzau
Konni Weber-Hürter
Email: K.Weber-Huerter@gmx.de



28 June 2006
Date posted: June 2006
Innocent Balagizi (DEm.REP.CONGO):
I am a field research working with the neighboring community around The kahuzi Biega National park (KBNP). In the moment we are a running a Centre for Environmental education in Katana.
The project aims to achieve long-term conservation of the park by increasing awareness and appreciation towards the KBNP among visitors from urban and peri-urban areas as well as neighboring rural communities.
Dealing with the Community based conservation approaches, it targets to establish the basic framework of a regional Environmental Interpretation Service in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The project focuses on information dissemination and awareness building through a Four-sided approach:
• Establish a functioning environment information and public awareness program
• Establish infrastructure for the program ( housing, visual communication equipment
• Build adequate capacity to run the awareness program.
• Empower the youth from ground levels to preserve, protect and conserve natural resources for their promising future: creating a small Child Forest Environmental Education

The main components of the project consist of Education and awareness campaigns for the local people, preparation of varied resource materials for wider dissemination among all members of the community, including pupils, teachers, as well as researchers, students and in a various non-formal education activities for children above 3 years old, young people and adults, and to increase the capacity building of the park staff and guides and tours operators by means of training.
Therefore the Centre seeks to engage a highly trained team to run activities involving technicians in Environmental Sciences, Teachers, Researchers, Ecologists, Artists, as well as Rural development technicians, the KBNP staff.
We need partners
Find more info on the website www.dialog-international.org
Date posted: June 2006
Dominique Z. BIKABA (Democratic Republic of Congo):
I was born within this park and there are now 13 years, I am working for its conservation through the Pole Pole Foundation (POPOF), a local NGO that we have created to involve local communities in the park's conservation.

Since 1996, successive wars started by the eastern DR Congo and have badly affected the park's ecosystem. The mark of this park is that it is an habitat of many endemic species of plants and animals. While efforts are being made to protect the Mountain gorillas in the Virungas, few people around the world know about the other sub-species of the Gorillas that live only in the Kahuzi-Biega national Park region; the Goriila gorilla graueri. Researchers have reported that their population have been declined to 70% the ten years ago.

The present state of this World Heritage Site needs more efforts from international and national levels to save some of the remained individuals in the forest.

It is a bit difficult to provide all the information in a short letter of fews words like this one. If specific information are needed, we will be pleased to provide some, if requested at popofdrc@yahoo.fr

With very best wishes,
Bikaba.
Date posted: August 2005
John Biega, Esq. (usa):
I have not been to Kahuzi-Biega Park but, am most interested in obtaining some background history on the founders or persons for whom the park was named; the work they were involved in and their countries of origin.

I am also interested in the plight of the mountain gorillas. It is my understanding that they were completely destroyed, nearly completly destroyed by the migrating populations fleeing the war.
 


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Site info


Kahuzi-Biega National Park
Country: Congo (Democratic Republic)
Inscribed: 1980
  • In Danger
    Natural Heritage
    Criteria:  (10)
    Category: Natural landscape, Forest Wildlife habitat, Fauna

    Site history:
    2007Reinforced Monitoring
    1997In Danger
    1980 Inscribed
    Reasons for inscription

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    Official website:
    »Kahuzi-Biega NP blog

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    Connections


    Ecology
    Chimpanzee habitat . Critically endangered fauna species . Gorilla habitat . High-Biodiversity Wilderness Area . Rainforests . Strepsirrhini .
    Geography
    Congo River Basin .
    Human Activity
    Pygmy Peoples .
    WHS on Other Lists
    World Heritage Forest Programme .
    World Heritage Process
    Inscribed on a single criterion only .



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