Success for African Amphibian Conservation through the Creation of New Reserve
The Ngandja Natural Reserve has been recently established thanks to Rainforest Trust’s local partner, donors and other supporters, safeguarding over 700,000 acres in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The newly established Ngandja Natural Reserve protects the northern part of Misotshi-Kabogo, an area within the DRC that is of critical importance for amphibian, bird and mammal conservation. A recent survey in the area led to the discovery of six vertebrate species new to science, including two new amphibian species. This Reserve, along with the Itombwe Massif located to the north of the Ngandja Natural Reserve, has been identified as an irreplaceable site for amphibian conservation. Together with the Itombwe Natural Reserve that Rainforest Trust also supported, these new Protected Areas now provide a safe haven for the region’s endangered wildlife and rich biodiversity.
Rainforest Trust supported the Albertine Rift Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society in a joint collaboration with other groups, working tirelessly to safeguard this section of critical amphibian habitat despite the boundary changes that have affected the reserve designation process.
In 2015, DRC government decentralization resulted in the creation of multiple new provinces, and the area originally proposed as Ngamikka National Park was suddenly contained within two provinces. Because of this division, local leaders and communities opted to establish the section of the proposed park in South Kivu Province as the M’Mbondo Reserve. The Governor of South Kivu recently designated this Protected Area, whose name has been changed to the Ngandja Natural Reserve to reflect the local culture and heritage of the region.
A major aspect of this Protected Area designation was community involvement. The Reserve was proposed through a consultation process that involved local stakeholders, government administrators and community representatives. Regular meetings were held with traditional chiefs to assess participatory mapping and boundary marking, as well as to provide information and maintain local support for the Reserve.
Since its designation, Rainforest Trust and its local partners have supported various conservation activities in the new Ngandja Natural Reserve to help improve the management capacity of local communities. Rangers that monitor the Reserve boundaries receive the training and equipment they need to ensure that wildlife is adequately protected.
For the southern section of the originally proposed Ngamikka National Park that has not yet received Protected Area status, the designation process is ongoing. Consultations are regularly held with local leaders, community representatives and provincial officials with the aim of having this area established as the Kabobo National Park as soon as possible.
Rainforest Trust supported the Albertine Rift Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society in a joint collaboration with World Wide Fund for Nature-DRC and AfriCapacity in the creation of the Ngandja Natural Reserve.
Rainforest Trust thanks all of its supporters that helped to make possible the creation of the Ngandja Natural Reserve, especially Bernie Han, Leslie Danoff and Larry Robbins, and Geo Chen and Angela Huang.
Header photo: Recording park boundaries. Photo courtesy of Andy Plumptre.