Conservation targets are wildlife species and communities at risk, and critical and declining habitats to be protected. The subsidiary or auxiliary targets constitute a more detailed level of the target to which they are attached (parts of the habitat, landscapes, support, etc.). Key ecological attributes are defined as the main natural characteristics of species, populations or ecosystems that have developed over time or as a result of natural disturbances and that allow the maintenance of the range of conditions to which the species are adapted.
Plant continuity of the PNKB is rare for sub-Saharan Africa. Only two other sites present such an altitude gradient (PN Virunga and PN Mount Cameroon). This situation guarantees genetic exchange between populations of large mammals at low and high altitudes. Given the small area of high altitude forests and their isolation in an overpopulated, completely cultivated region, this exchange is the only guarantee for the survival of these populations of large threatened mammals. Vegetation is also the driving force of the hydrographic regime of the region. The protected vegetation cover in the park has a regulating effect on the hydrological regime of the region.
It ensures the protection of watersheds. This is important especially for the high altitude part where the forest cover outside the Park is rapidly decreasing.
Moreover, the exceptional forest cover of the PNKB constitutes an important carbon sink that should contribute to the fight against climate change.
The Eastern Lowland Gorillas
Like many other species, the eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) is on the verge of extinction.
This monkey resides exclusively in the Congo and has not benefited from any conservation monitoring since 1996. Fortunately, organizations have recently looked into the subject in order to fight together for its survival.
The Gorilla beringei graueri, gorilla of the eastern plains, lives exclusively in Congo, in the mountains and forests of medium altitude. No longer monitored since 1996, it is impossible to estimate the number of gorillas still alive today. However, this species of great ape is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Fearing that the eastern lowland gorillas will disappear for good, many associations have mobilized in favor of its survival. A conservation plan for these great primates has therefore been developed. Several teams present in the Congo now have very distinct missions to carry out in order to preserve the gorillas. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Fauna & Flora International (FFI), the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) , Conservation International (CI) and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI) have partnered with the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) and the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism ( MECNT) in order to develop a new method to study and assess the state of these primates whose habitat extends over 80,000 km².
These associations will also be able to rely on satellite imagery, digital cartography and cloud computing thanks to the support of Google, DigitalGlobe and Esri. The habitats of these great primates are often destroyed to make way for crops. In addition, the gorilla is often hunted for its meat. Let’s hope that the action plan put in place in Congo will allow the eastern lowland gorillas to survive.