Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Congo's Treasure: her land

The River and Rainforest
The Congo is the planet’s second largest river by volume - the Amazon is first - and second largest rainforest. It stretches across central Africa and two-thirds of the forest is found in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

To get an idea of the magnitude of The Congo’s impact on the region check out this blurb from 

Millions of people across the region depend on the forest for food, medicine and shelter, and the cultures of many communities are founded on their relationship with the forest. No less than two-thirds of the DRC's 60 million people rely on the forest in one way or another.

The wealth of biodiversity is also immense. Forest elephants roam the area as do three species of great ape: gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos. Animals and birds such as okapi and the Congo peacock are found nowhere else. And, as with all large forest areas, the Congo plays a vital role in regulating climate, both locally and globally.

Logging the rainforest in hopes to boost the region’s economy has been met with the cold, hard fact that the land has been stripped by unfulfilled promises. Corruption is wide-spread and until the minds and hearts of officials can be changed, plans to trade the natural resources of The Congo for financial gain, thus improved living and working conditions, will continue to fall down a well no one can see the bottom of. 

To the world, as much CO2 as has been released by the UK in the past 60 years could be released by the deforestation of The Congo. To the people, their lives are directly connected to the welfare of the land. It is our global and social duty to be conscious of these threats and work towards change and protection of the land.

The Gorilla Habitat

Logging, agriculture, illegal hunting are the main causes for destruction of the gorilla habitat in The Congo rainforest. Threats to both the forest and the gorilla go hand in hand and their safety rely on the success of the government to enforce penalties. 

Grauer’s Gorilla is the largest of the four types of gorilla and lives only in the DRC.

The Cross River Gorilla habitat is being carved into isolated blocks and can only be found on the Nigeria-Cameroon border.

The Mountain Gorilla lives in the heights of the forest and exists in just two spots today.

The Western Lowland Gorilla is threatened by the demand for bushmeat and the Ebola disease, but recently a secluded crowd of 125,000 were discovered in the DRC!

Organizations like the Wildlife Conservatory Society do tremendous work to discover vital information to help save these gorillas and their fellow forest mates. The most important thing we can do to help is put pressure on the government of these countries to implement defined restrictions on where and when humans can impede on the lives of the trees and all the species of bugs and animals that live in them.

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