Working with Congolese Communities
By valuing local human cultures and heritages, zoo researchers help foster a strong relationship between the human and wild populations in the Goualougo Triangle.
Saving great apes and their habitats does not just involve implementing informed management practices, safe tourism, and conscientious research. It also requires valuing local human cultures and heritages. A strong relationship with the local village populations is essential in achieving the conservation and scientific objectives of this project.
Three local villages are closely tied to the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project (GTAP), as they are home to nearly 90 percent of the GTAP’s workforce. This region is significant because of the large population of indigenous people (Babendzele and Bangombe ethnic tribes), often referred to as autochthonous or Ba’Aka. The employment of local Ba’Aka provides a viable alternative to unsustainable hunting and aids in addressing current gender and ethnic imbalances in economic opportunities.
Several trackers have been working for GTAP for nearly 20 years, and the sons of several trackers are following in their father’s footsteps by working for the project.