Lincoln Park Zoo scientists, along with international partners, have long conducted conservation research in the Republic of Congo, where scientists continue to learn about great apes and their habitats so we can better preserve them.
The Republic of Congo’s Parliament just passed an act that protects the Djéké Triangle by making it part of Nouabale-Ndoki National Park, to which it is adjacent. This is an exciting development, as this 36 square-mile region is 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.
The Djéké Triangle is also home to the longest-running gorilla research site in Western Equatorial Africa. It is a critical part of the Sangha Trinational UNESCO World Heritage Site, which encompasses three national parks in three countries—Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Congo. The work done by researchers, including Lincoln Park Zoo’s Dr. David Morgan, has helped provide evidence that this region has high conservation value and deserves legal protection. Lincoln Park Zoo even named a gorilla Djeke to honor conservation efforts there.
“Giving the Djéké Triangle national park status will help make sure it is safe from the exploitation of its natural resources, including the destruction of its trees from timber,” says Morgan. “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 Nouabale-Ndoki National Park by presidential decree—another effort that Lincoln Park Zoo researchers were involved in. The Goualougo Triangle is a special place because it’s one of the only remaining areas on the planet where chimpanzees and gorillas live in the same ecosystem.
Here’s an official statement about the significance of this announcement by Dr. Morgan, research fellow at Lincoln Park Zoo and co-director of the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project: