Ranger Operations in Upemba National Park, DRC

We Need Your Support to Finance our Ranger Activities to Protect Wildlife and Safeguard Upemba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Help us make the world a better place by saving protected areas and protecting species. Your help will not only help our welfare but also assist in our operations.

OUR STORY
Upemba National Park, located in the south east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and covering 11 730 km2, forms a diverse landscape that historically held in excess of 100,000 elephants and represented one of the richest biodiversity areas in the country.

The wildlife at the time of gazettement of the park in 1939 contained significant populations of elephants, black rhinos, buffalos, lions, leopards, wild dogs, large herds of plains games including many endemic species. The swamps, shallow lakes, and river channels of Upemba host a relatively rich aquatic fauna. The area has great tourism potential from the combination of remarkable scenery, wildlife potential and relatively easy access and stability in the DRC context.

Regrettably the wildlife has been significantly reduced due to heavy poaching for ivory and bushmeat that has gone unchecked in an environment of instability, with limited and inconsistent conservation protection.
Fortunately In 2017, ICCN (the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation) signed a 15-year contract with Forgotten Parks Foundation for Upemba’s management, rehabilitation and development.

This process of rehabilitation of the park, although at an infant stage, has had promising results over the past three years, reducing poaching and wildlife trafficking, protecting the last savannah elephants in Katanga province as well as the last zebras in DRC.

With hard work and dedication, the population of zebras has multiplied from a dozen to about 200, and the population of elephants, also slowly growing, from 170 to more than 200.


This progress could not have been achieved without the hard work of our wildlife rangers, risking their lives every day to protect endangered species, while working in difficult conditions, without all the necessary equipment, but with passion and determination to stop poaching, illegal activities and to create a safe environment for wildlife and communities.



Priority interventions are being carried out within the monitoring framework of species and other miscellaneous facts, where 4 patrols of rangers, with about 5 to 6 rangers per patrol per week are deployed to do close monitoring of zebras and elephants, to collect evidence of lions and existence of shoebills as part of the process of rehabilitation. The means to carry out these activities are limited and we are in need of fuel, rations, medical equipment and medical covers, to list a few.
To be more specific and give you an idea about these monitoring activities, we have listed some that are currently carried out by rangers :

1. The population of lions in the park had been reduced to zero, but recent testimonies of our rangers testify of the return of “the King of the jungle”, and that has positively raised our attention to locate the remaining lions and protect them to allow them to multiply. So our rangers have been monitoring lions in ecosystems where their presence was reported. A first monitoring experiment to detect their presence took place on the evening of the 29th of December 2021 from 7 pm to 10 pm and on the night of the 30th of December 2021 from 3 am to 5 am where our rangers followed tracks, from Lusinga to Kapelo. Although no lion was reported, we continue the hard work and monitoring.

2. Monitoring of birds in the park. At the moment, our priority is to visualize the shoebill and to carry out a spatial localization (sampling GPS coordinates) by defining the preferred habitats of the species of Shoebill (Balaeniceps Rex). This one is adorned with a small tuft of feathers. It lives in Central Africa, in lakes and marshes and it owes its name to its large beak. According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) statute, the species is vulnerable and included in the list of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora) in appendix II.


3. Monitoring of the elephants in the park. We aim to form a team in order to prepare preliminary information on the location of different herds of elephants in the park to guide and facilitate a team of researchers with expertise in the issue. There is the need of constant monitoring on a daily basis in and around the park.


All activities listed above are only a little part of the big work being done in the park to insure security and to rehabilitate the protected area.

We are also aiming to upgrade our park’s biomonitoring information base for the benefit of the park and other local and international partners who support us.

To cover the fees for these activities and other basic costs for a period of 3 months, we would need a minimum of $55,000. This will cover rations, fuel, repairs, medical support and other urgently needed equipment and materials.

Our goal is to raise as much money as we can to help continue to pay for
equipment and rations, and allow our rangers to continue their important work that plays a crucial part in saving the planet.

By supporting this cause not only do you help rangers and their families, but you will help them to continue the great work they do: contributing in protecting wildlife by creating a safer environment, saving our ecosystems and making the world a better place.

Your contribution is highly appreciated and we thank you in advance!

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Organizer

Kevin Marriott 
Organizer
Dover, FL
Forgotten Parks Foundation, Inc 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
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