Monday, December 27, 2010

Involving Local Communities in Antipoaching Campaign

A joint mission with the Okapi Conservation Project Education team and the Community Conservation Unit of Institute in Congo for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) recently traveled to the North of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. They held meetings with Wamba and Watsa Territory officials, police, army, customary leaders, school directors and church leaders. Girls and boys were selected from all secondary schools to participate in soccer competitions related to the events.

The intent of the meetings included: recognition of ICCN as public institution involved with conservation in the region; participants support for ICCN anti-poaching campaigns; acceptance of local customary leaders to participate in joint public awareness missions; establishment of an ICCN guard base camp near Wamba; and need for collaboration with the court in Isiro to punish arrested poachers according to conservation laws.

In recent years the Okapi Conservation Project education team has been working in the northern region of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve under challenging environments, including very difficult travel conditions on poor roads. This mission is a great success for the future integrity of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, establishing critical lines of communication, collaboration and cooperation.

Marcel Enckoto, Assistant Director, Okapi Conservation Project

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