New York (February 16, 2012)The Republic of Congo has formally expanded Nouabal-Ndoki National Park to protect an increasingly rare treasure: one of Africa's most pristine forests and a population of "nave" chimpanzees with so little exposure to humans that the curious apes investigate the conservationists who study them rather than run away.
Known as the Goualougo Triangle, the 100-plus square-mile dense swamp forest and its unique great ape population was first reported in 1989 by WCS conservationists.
The expansion of Nouabal-Ndoki National Park completes the legal process of the commitment made by the Republic of Congo in 2001 to protect the Goualogo by annexation to the park, boosting the size of the protected area from 1,492 square miles (386,592 hectares) to 1,636 square miles (423,870 hectares), an increase of more than 8 percent.
"We commend the Republic of Congo for finalizing this critical process to extend the borders of Nouabal-Ndoki to include the Goualougo Triangle, one of the great wonders of Africa," said WCS President and CEO Steve Sanderson. "In a world of human use, this extraordinary forest is a reminder of Eden, an untouched gem teeming with chimpanzees, gorillas, and forest elephants. It is the definition of wild nature and must be protected."
Following the discovery of the Goualougo Triangle and concerned about growing poaching pressures in surrounding areas, the government of the Republic of Congo entered into an integrated partnership with WCS and Congolais Industrielle des Bois (CIB), a private logging company. The partnership implemented an effective buffer zone program in the timber concessions surrounding the Nouabal-Ndoki Park while protecting the pristine forest. Consequently, CIB gave up its legal right to harvest timber from the Goualougo forest in the interest of leaving the wildlife undisturbed.
Subsequent studies of the Goualougo Triangle's "nave" chimpanzee population by WCS conservationists Dave
|Contact: Stephen Sautner|
Wildlife Conservation Society