By Kevin Heath
Results of a wildlife survey of the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in Congo-Brazzaville (also known as Republic of Congo) undertaken by the Wildlife Conservation Society has indicated that gorilla numbers in the park have fallen from 40,000 in 2005 to just 22,000 in 2012.
The survey was conducted in 2012 and commissioned by Africa Parks but has only been published this month.
African Parks’ manager for Odzala-Kokoua, Leon Lamprecht, said that the loss of gorillas were from a number of issues not least the widespread deaths caused by the ebola outbreak before 2005. Poaching is also causing a problem as human encroach further into the depths of the park. “Ebola may have removed many of the groups, leaving only solitary males alive and so reducing reproductive capacity, or it may have continued for a number of years after 2005.
“We are confident however that our scaled up anti-poaching operations will reduce the hunting pressure on both gorillas and chimpanzees in the park.”
The wildlife census also found that chimpanzee numbers were stable between 2005 and 2012. Elephant numbers were higher than expected with 9,600 forest elephants now living in the national park.
Both primates and forest elephants are concentrated in the southern sector of the park. 70% of primates live in the south and 65% of the forest elephants reside there. More....