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Bastion of biodiversity protected in eastern DRC

22 / 12 / 2016, Mongabaycom News

The governor of a province in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo approved the boundaries of a 1,477-square-kilometer (570-square-mile) natural reserve on Wednesday. “This is the first protected area to be established in the new Tanganyika Province,” said Governor Richard Kitangala in a statement released by the Wildlife Conservation Society, “and I hope it will be the first of several to come.” By delineating the perimeter of the Kabobo Natural Reserve, the governor has laid the groundwork for the protection of the area, one that proponents say will continue to involve local communities around the reserve. WCS said began working with the people around the Kabobo Massif in 2009. [caption id="attachment_191883" align="alignright" width="396"] The new Kabobo Natural Reserve is contiguous with the Luama Katanga and Ngandja Reserves, collectively protecting an area nearly 25 times larger than the country of Burundi. Map by WCS[/caption] WCS representatives said that the location of the reserve next to several other reserves will bolster the protection of many important animal species “Africa’s most biodiverse ecoregion.” “There are at least 34 globally threatened species and 110 species endemic to the Albertine Rift region,” which stretches along the borders of DRC, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, said Andy Plumptre, WCS senior scientist, in the release. In the 1950s, Belgian researchers cataloged a bird call the Kabobo apalis (Apalis kaboboensis), which has not been found anywhere else. But conflict largely kept the flow of scientific information from the Kabobo area to a trickle for decades. Plumptre was involved in…

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