Lincoln Park Zoo and international conservationists are celebrating a wildlife-saving effort today as the Republic of Congo has agreed to protect the Djéké Triangle by making it part of the adjacent Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park – the only habitat in the world home to both gorillas and chimpanzees.
The Djéké Triangle is a 36 square-mile region home to many threatened animals, including large populations of western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, and forest elephants, along with bongo antelopes and other large mammals, plus more than 300 bird species and 1,000 plant species.
Since 1999, the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project, co-directed by Lincoln Park Zoo Research Fellow David Morgan, Ph.D. and Crickette Sanz, PhD., of Washington University in St. Louis have conducted research and helped provide evidence that this region has high conservation value and deserves legal protection. The Djéké Triangle is home to Mondika Gorilla Project where these scientists work and is the longest-running gorilla research site in Western Equatorial Africa.
“This is a monumental win for great apes, the biodiversity of these pristine forests, and for the nearby Congolese communities,” said Morgan. “Giving the Djéké Triangle national park status will help make sure it is safe from the exploitation of its natural resources, especially the destruction of its trees for timber. This will also make it possible for local Indigenous people to improve their livelihoods through employment and tourism. Additionally, the act will help preserve the biodiversity of a beautiful, still-intact forest region.”
Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park was created in 1993 to protect a large area of wilderness in the Republic of Congo that was part of a forestry concession but had not yet been logged. Then, in 2013, the Goualougo Triangle was annexed to Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park by presidential decree—another effort supported by the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project.
The Goualougo Triangle Ape Project and its lifesaving research is made possible by Lincoln Park Zoo, Wildlife Conservation Society, Saint Louis Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Indianapolis Zoo, the Arcus Foundation, Columbus Zoo, Zoo Atlanta, Woodland Park Zoo and other partners.
For more information about the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project, protecting great apes, or ways to Take Action With Us, visit lpzoo.org.