The Congolese government has officially recognized community ownership of a conservation area linking two national parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, giving hope for the survival of the Grauer’s gorilla, a critically endangered species. The gorilla, found only in DRC, faces threats from habitat loss, poaching for bushmeat, and the effects of lingering civil unrest in the region. The Nkuba Conservation Area is co-managed by local communities and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, with the latter providing jobs and training initiatives for women. The years-long effort to develop the conservation area and now to maintain it points to the importance of engaging local communities in conservation. In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), critically endangered Grauer’s gorillas ( Gorilla beringei graueri ) share their forest home with rural communities – which could help save their shrinking populations and habitat. The DRC government officially recognized community ownership of three forest concessions, which combined are called the Nkuba Conservation Area, in April. The 1,580-square-kilometer (610-square-mile) patch of protected area, about twice the size of New York City, is situated between the Maiko and Kahuzi-Biéga national parks. The formal recognition of Nkuba Conservation Area represents a win for community rights and […]

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