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Primates in DR Congo

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Primates in Congo

Congo is one of the richest countries in terms of natural gift and endowed. This country has a lot of natural resources that when properly utilized-which is not the case, can really fetch a proportionate volume of foreign exchange.

In the same propensity, Congo being more of a forested country, it has a lot of tourism potential and attractions that have recently been developed and opened for tourism to the world.

Among such are the various national parks located in the different provinces that make up Congo as a country. Such parks include Virunga national parkand Okapi national park found in Goma province, Maiko national park found in the Eastern province plus Kahuzi Biega national park found in Bukavu province.

So in terms of primates, Congo has numerous number of primates that even make other African countries jealousy of them. So below are the various primates found in this country.

Mountain gorillas

Apart from Uganda and Rwanda, Congo is the only other African country to habit mountain gorillas since the three countries share the Virunga massif that is home to these primates.There are currently 900 mountain gorillas left in world and they are all found in this Virunga massif.

The Virunga subpopulation ranges across the Virunga Massif, which is a 440km² network of protected areas across the borders of Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park), Uganda (Mgahinga National Park) and the DRC (Virunga National Park).

The Bwindi subpopulation is mainly restricted to the 330km² Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.As their name implies, mountain gorillas live in forests high in the mountains, at elevations of 2,000 to 4,000 meters.

They have thicker and denser hair compared to other great apes, which helps them survive in a habitat where temperatures often drop below freezing. But as humans have moved more and more into their territory, the gorillas have been pushed farther up into the mountains for longer periods, forcing them to endure dangerous and sometimes deadly conditions.

What might have been a bleak outlook for the subspecies just a couple of decades ago has brightened in recent years due to conservation efforts. Despite ongoing civil conflict, poaching and human encroachment, both mountain gorilla populations have increased in numbers.

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Primates in Congo

Lowland Gorilla

 Congo has an upper hand over Uganda and Rwanda as far as primates are concerned since for it is also home to the lowland gorillas.This specie of gorillas is found in Kahuzi-Biega national park found in Bukavu province in South-Eastern part of the country.

This park accommodates the greatest number of Eastern gorillas in the region. So this national park has become a top attraction for lowland gorilla tours in Africa. Two eastern lowland gorilla families have been habituated and ready for trekking which has provided travelers with a lifetime experience. Due to the close relativeness of the gorilla specie with human beings (98.8% human genes) making them susceptible to human diseases. Masks have been provided to all trekkers to avoid the spread of human wildlife diseases.

Travelers learn how gorillas play different roles in their respective families, silverback as dads defending and planning for the entire family, adult females nursing the babies whereas the juveniles playing and entertaining the whole family. This interaction gives trekkers a real family experience like that of human beings. An hour spent with the gorillas is a lifetime experience that every traveler lives to tell about.

Chimpanzee

 Chimpanzees are found in Virunga National Park and their habituation started in February 2014 when Congolese team trained by Frankfurt Zoological Society started living in the forests around park headquarters in Rumangabo.

Though these chimpanzees are always on probability to be seen but when seen they are really a good activity to engage in.Guests interested in tracking these primates always leave their hotels as early as possible in order to catch a glimpse of these primates. However, the rangers set off very early in the morning and go into the forest and first spot where these chimps are and then afterwards come for the guests after knowing that they are present.

Groups are limited to only 4 people and time with the chimpanzees is restricted to one hour. Chimpanzee habituation had come to a standstill due to the civil unrest1992-2001 and this had put the whole chimpanzee tourism to an end.

Visitors are always advised to cancel if they don’t feel well at the time of their planned walk i.e. if they have a cold, fever, diarrhea or persistent sore throat because just like gorillas, chimpanzees are extremely susceptible to human illnesses. Most chimpanzees have died after being exposed to human respiratory viruses and other common ailments.

Bonobos

Bonobos are found only in the Democratic Republic of Congo.Bonobos and chimpanzees look very similar and both share 98.7% of their DNA with humans—making the two species our closest living relatives. Bonobos are usually a bit smaller, leaner and darker than chimpanzees. Their society is also different—bonobo groups tend to be more peaceful and are led by females. They also maintain relationships and settle conflicts through sex. However, bonobo life isn’t entirely violence free; if two groups of bonobos come together, they may engage in serious fighting.

Wild bonobos can only be found in forests south of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and are sometimes known as the pygmy chimpanzee.Efforts to survey the species over the past two decades have been hampered by the remote nature of its habitat, the patchiness of their distribution and years of civil unrest within the DRC.

Civil unrest and increasing poverty in the area around the bonobos’ forests have contributed to bonobo poaching and deforestation. Though the size of the bonobo population is largely unknown, it has likely been declining for the last 30 years. Scientists believe that the decline will continue for the next 45 to 55 years due to the bonobo’s low reproductive rate and growing threats.

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ABOUT TRAVELPRESS

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OUR MISSION

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PRINCIPLES

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OUR TEAM

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ARON WISHLEY Founder & Director

NIMA SEDAN Chief Executive Officer

JOHN FALMI Head Manager