Salonga National Park

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Individual people are also allowed to make donations to the park through The Great Ape Trust of Iowa. Salonga National park is also Africa’s largest reserve tropical rainforest. The rainforest is located in the central basin of the Congo River which makes it very isolated and is only accessible by water. The Salonga National Park is the most ecologically important area in Central Africa for biodiversity. It is the habitat of several endemic endangered species such as the Bonobo, or Pygmy Chimpanzee, the Zaire Peafowl, the forest elephant, and the African Slender-Snouted Crocodile.

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Other large mammals that are located within the Salonga National Park are Hippo’s, Giant Ground Pangolin, Forest Buffalo, and Golden Cats. Smaller mammals include Leopards, Brush-Tailed Porcupine, seven other monkey species, and the Tree Hyrax. Diversity among the park is wide spread, because there are so many different life forms. The biological interrelationships among the life forms in the area are just like anywhere else. There are certain animals that get along and there are others that have to fight for survival and other animals that hunt and kill others of the same species for survival.

The Bonobo Chimpanzee is one of the most common monkeys in the park, while the Leopard and Golden Cat are the Bonobo’s predators. Life forms within the park do what their natural instinct is, in order to survive. There are other animals that eat plant life, fruits, and other vegetation around the park, while other species of animals have to hunt and kill for survival. There is also the risk of the same species fighting within the park for “ruling” reasons, or just upset with one another. Fighting with the same species can also lead to death.

Along with animal species fighting for survival, human intrusions are threatening the Salonga National Park. The main direct threat includes poaching for things such as ivory and bush meat. The main direct threat is complicated by the unmarked boundaries and inadequate acceptance of the park amongst local communities. “The Salonga National park has a large and undisturbed forest that could serve as a reservoir for what is being lost elsewhere. This strengthens the need for solid efforts to evict poachers and hunters from the park and start patrols again” (www. zoosociety. rg) so these patrols need the means to protect the park at all costs. A secondary threat to the Salonga National Park is the lack of support from neighboring communities and trained personnel. Park guards have gone for long periods of time without pay, and well armed poachers often obtain entry to the park unchallenged. Equipment has been looted and several staff members have left the park, but the ones who remain try and resist poaching threats effectively. The reports that have been done in Salonga have showed the density of snares and traps were considerably large along the borders of the park.

There have also been reports of empty cartridges found in various areas. Another problem that threatens the area is the extensive hunting for meat. Park guards are consistently patrolling the areas around the park and raiding and arresting poachers among their camps. Efficient patrolling needs to be done, along the rivers because the rivers are the only access routes to the park. Heavily armed poachers prevent the park guards from doing their jobs effectively. Some of these guards have been shot or killed by poachers because they are trying to protect the life forms inside the park.

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