Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, Congo 

The Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (NNNP) covers more than 4,000 square kilometers of contiguous lowland rainforest in northern Republic of Congo. It is arguably the best example of an intact forest ecosystem remaining in the Congo Basin. The park has never been logged, contains no roads within its borders, and still protects wildlife populations deep within its interior that have had little or no contact with people.

The forest is part of the larger Sangha Tri-National Forest Landscape that in July 2012 was nominated as a World Heritage Site. The region is a stronghold for important populations of large mammals, including forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees. The park also contains forest clearings that offer a window into the lives of shy forest wildlife, creating fantastic opportunities for tourism development and conservation science.

Created in 1993, the park and its buffer zone have benefited from more than 25 years of collaborative management between the Congolese Government and WCS to emerge as one of the most crucial protected areas for the conservation of wildlife in Central Africa. In October 2014, WCS signed a Cooperative Agreement with the Ministry for Forest Economy (MEF), creating the Nouabalé-Ndoki Foundation (NNF), a Public-Private Partnership that will ensure the long-term management and financing of the park. The creation of the foundation has allowed park management to: professionalize park operations; develop management and business plans; secure significant new investment; and increase staffing and infrastructure to a level that is appropriate to successfully manage a national park in the 21st century.

Epic Congo Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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