Protecting our forests

Saving the bonobos in DRC

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Reconciling Bonobo protection with the economic development of local populations.

Saving the bonobos in DRC

Project leader
logo MbouMon-Tour

Duration of the partnership
2017-2019

Location
Democratic Republic of the Congo

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The project goals

The territory of Bolobo is a high priority area for the conservation of biodiversity, including bonobos. Deforestation and setting fires to harvest honey from natural hives are endangering bonobos, known as a keystone species, vital to the diversification and existence of their tropical forests in the Congo Basin.

The association MMT supports the local population in creating Local Community Forests (LCFs) to encourage local populations to participate in sustainable forest management. MMT coaches local trackers to monitor and habituate bonobos to the presence of humans in the LCFs.

This provides valuable information on the behaviour and location of the bonobos, in order to better protect them.

Developing beekeeping using modern hives as a source of income will limit intrusions in conservation areas while still providing sustainable livelihoods for local populations. The villagers are being trained in this sustainable method and the necessary equipment is provided to them. Protected from destructive honey harvesting practices, the forest will regenerate quickly and the bees will be able to resume pollinating.

The Beneficiaries

The project directly benefits 240 people, mainly women, as well as 4500 villagers who will enjoy a protected environment and improved living conditions.

The project benefits

This project carries out activities to organise and strengthen communities, thereby encouraging good governance in natural resource management and improving the involvement of women and minority groups for social, economic and environmental justice.

“Our project is original because it was initiated by the local populations themselves, whereas most conservation initiatives conducted in the DRC were initiated by the State (…) and the local populations were excluded from protected areas. (…) Our approach is to find the right balance between human interests and the welfare of the animals, a sort of peaceful coexistence pact between the two species. To do this, local populations have mapped out and defined the spaces reserved for bonobo conservation and those intended for human activities.”

Jean Christophe Bokika Founder and President of MMT
logo MbouMon-Tour

Project leader MbouMon-Tour

Created in 1997 by university leaders and villagers, the NGO MbouMon-Tour (MMT) promotes environmental protection and local development in the DRC. MMT works closely with local development and conservation committees to develop the project. This association is supported by the Maisons du Monde Foundation via the French NGO Man & Nature.
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