Current status of the bonobo (Pan paniscus) in the proposed Lomako Reserve (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Biological conservation. - Liverpool
, p. 265-272
University of Antwerp
The creation of a 3800 km(2) forest reserve along the Lomako river (Equateur Province, Democratic Republic of Congo) is considered one of the main actions necessary for the conservation of the bonobo (Pan paniscus). We conducted a one-month qualitative survey in parts of the Lomako forest, in order to determine the presence of bonobos and the nature and degree of human disturbance. Results are based on information obtained by questionnaires at human settlements, direct evidence of human activities and forest visits in search of bonobos. There is still a rather large bonobo population in the south-central part of the Lomako forest. relatively free of hunting. However, the northern population seems to be decimated. except in the most impenetrable forest parts. The threats to the proposed reserve are twofold. First, the indigenous inhabitants of the Lomako forest have started intensifying commercial bushmeat hunting as an alternative to the loss of their agricultural economy. Secondly, an increasing number of commercial hunters are entering the area. In addition to the creation of the Lomako Forest Bonobo Reserve, we consider that support of local agriculture and the presence of researchers are the most important factors for the continued preservation of the local bonobo population by the indigenous inhabitants of the forest. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.