By Kevin Heath
With just 22 giraffes remaining in the Garamba National Park the future is bleak for the wildlife. The wildlife survey released by the Congolese Institute for Conservation of Nature (ICCN) in the DR Congo on Monday is bad news for the Garamba National Park. Over the last 30 years the park has lost 65% of its endangered animals. From elephants to giraffes numbers have crashed and the rhino have practically disappeared.
From being one of the world’s strongholds of white rhino – there was over 500 rhino in the 1970′s – there is now practically none left in the DR Congo section of the park. Elephant numbers have also crashed over 30 years from over 25,000 to just 1,800.
There is now just 22 giraffes remaining in the Congo section of the park compared with 370 30 years ago and buffalo numbers have fallen from 60,000 at the end of the 1970′s to just 4000 today.
Christian Amboya, a senior ranger of the park, has been reported in Chinese media as saying that the local population needs to be more involved in the protection of wildlife in the park to prevent uncontrollable poaching.
“We want to appeal for the arming of the local population to be able to protect the park, they should also condemn poaching and sensitize other members of the community to fight against poachers, ” Amboya said.
Local community activists and representatives are also calling for a new armed force to be developed involving local park residents working together with park rangers to combat poaching. One report recently highlights a gang of poachers in the park using a helicopter to gun down 22 elephants.