Applying a multi-faceted approach to achieve long-term sustainable conservation goals in a programme for the reintroduction of Critically Endangered western lowland gorillas to a protected area within the Republic of Congo

The Aspinall Foundation
Publicado: 01 Noviembre 2021
Última edición: 01 Noviembre 2021
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The Gorilla Protection Project began in 1987 with the aim of reintroducing Critically Endangered western lowland gorillas to an area they had been hunted to extinction. Young gorillas, orphaned by the illegal bush meat trade, receive care and rehabilitation at the project before release back to the wild. Also captive-bred gorillas are repatriated to Congo where, after a period of adjustment, they too are released into the reserve. The protection afforded to the area also allows a wider range of flora and fauna to benefit, improving the biodiversity and health of the eco-system. Yet the anthropogenic pressures remain. To achieve sustainable conservation results the project seeks to achieve a holistic solution by adopting a multi-faceted approach to a complex problem. This involves conservation initiatives that include local community development in the villages surrounding the reserve alongside enforcement and protection against unauthorised activities for the wildlife and habitat of the protected area.


África Occidental y Central
Escala de aplicación
Ecosistemas de agua dulce
Ecosistemas de pastizales
Ecosistemas forestales
Piscina, lago, estanque
Pradera tropical, sabana, matorral
Río, corriente
Selva baja caducifolia
Acceso y participación en los beneficios
Actores locales
Caza furtiva y delitos ambientales
Ciencia y investigación
Conocimientos tradicionales
Diversidad genetica
Especies y la extinción
Fragmentación del hábitat y degradación
Gestión de fuego
Gestión de tierras
Gestión y planificación de áreas protegidas y conservadas
Institucionalización de la biodiversidad
Medios de vida sostenibles
Ordenamiento territorial terrestre
Prevención de erosión
Servicios ecosistémicos
Species Conservation and One Health Interventions
Conservación genética
Evaluación del estado de las especies
Seguimiento e investigación de especies
Traslados de conservación de especies
Planificación de la conservación de especies
Comunicación de riesgos, participación de la comunidad y cambio de comportamiento
Evaluación de riesgos
Lluvia errática
Degradación de tierras y bosques
Pérdida de la biodiversidad
Usos conflictivos / impactos acumulativos
Pérdida de ecosistemas
Cacería furtiva
Cosecha insostenible, incluida la sobrepesca
Gestión ineficaz de los recursos financieros
Falta de acceso a financiación a largo plazo
Falta de oportunidades de ingresos alternativos
Extracción de recursos físicos
Falta de conciencia del público y de los responsables de la toma de decisiones
Deficiente vigilancia y aplicación de la ley
Falta de seguridad alimentaria
Desempleo / pobreza
Objectivos de Desarrollo Sostenible
ODS 1 - Fin de la pobreza
ODS 2 - Hambre cero
ODS 5 - Igualidad de género
ODS 12 - Producción y consumo responsables
ODS 15 - Vida de ecosistemas terrestres
ODS 17 - Alianzas para lograr los objetivos
Metas de Aichi
Meta 1: Aumento de la sensibilization sobre la biodiversidad
Meta 4: Producción y consumo sostenibles
Meta 5: Pérdida de hábitat reducida a la mitad o reducida
Meta 6: Gestión sostenible de los recursos vivos acuáticos
Meta 7: Agricultura, acuicultura y silvicultura
Meta 8: Reducción de la contaminación
Meta 11: Áreas protegidas y conservadas
Meta 12: Reducir el riesgo de extinción
Meta 14: Los servicios ecosistemicos
Meta 15: Restauración de ecosistemas y resiliencia
Meta 18: Conocimiento tradicional
Metas del marco de Sendai
Meta 2: Reducir el número de personas afectadas a nivel global para 2030
Presentación de la (I)NDC


Lésio-Louna Reserve, Batéke Plateau, Republic of Congo.


The release of rehabilitated or captive-bred animals back to the wild requires a multi-year commitment with an ability to adapt processes and procedures where necessary.

Civil wars and militia conflicts have plagued the Republic of Congo for many years, and even during periods of relative stability projects must be managed with a degree of sensitivity in this regard.

The people living in the villages surrounding the reserve are trapped in a subsistence lifestyle by poverty and the lack of opportunities in rural areas. This in turn leads to pressure on wildlife from practices such as poaching, fishing, and habitat loss/degradation. There is also an historical lack of economic and social empowerment, particularly affecting the younger generation and women. The resulting cycle of over-exploitation of natural resources can only be broken by tackling the complexities of the problem with multiple solutions requiring a cohesive and sustained programme of conservation and community development.


The main beneficiaries of the project are the local communities living in the 23 villages along the park boundaries (population in excess of 17,000) and, in a broader context, the government of the Republic of Congo.

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

The interaction of the building blocks follows a natural progression from early preparation and planning through to implementation and the future. Certain elements run throughout the building blocks, including collaboration, and good communication. Each block is not necessarily dependent on the others, but together they form a far more cohesive approach to addressing the complex situations that face most conservation projects. Following a logical pathway that brings together multiple aspects, particularly in areas involving human/wildlife conflict to any degree, provides a far better opportunity to achieve sustainable solutions.

Impactos positivos

The project's approach has led to a natural expansion of its scope. At its core there remains the initial focus of the reintroduction and protection of the western lowland gorilla population, but its impact has expanded beyond a single species. The health of the eco-system as a whole is integral to the project, and the complex inter-relationships between humans, wildlife and habitat are key elements. As with many of the remaining wilderness areas, the villages surrounding Lésio-Louna Reserve are some of the poorest in the country and they are highly dependent on the natural resources around them. Environmental and social resilience is achieved by empowering the local communities to transition from subsistence to sustainable lifestyles.

Since the inception of the project there is now a self-supporting population of wild gorillas in the reserve and other species, including hippos and forest buffalo, have increased in number. Through training, raising awareness, and building new income streams that encourage a desire to protect wildlife and habitats, local communities have gained new skills and a better understanding of the importance of sustainability. In addition to contributing to a number of SDGs this continued development will ultimately enable local people to become the custodians of their environment.


The Aspinall Foundation

In November 2020, thanks to the support we received from the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States through the BIOPAMA Programme, we were able to significantly enhance our work in the Lésio-Louna Reserve. The aim was to improve the protection & management of the reserve through increased monitoring against illegal activities combined with the development of an existing eco-tourism product. It is an example of combining multiple approaches to achieve a single result, that being to protect the habitat and wildlife of the Lésio-Louna Reserve whilst remaining sensitive to the needs of local people. The purchase of a 4 x 4 vehicle and additional camera traps has allowed our team to organise regular patrols, and monitor activity, across a much wider area of the reserve than would be possible on foot. Combined with the use of SMART technology we are now gaining a better understanding of unauthorised activities that are occurring in the remote areas of the reserve and have been able to take action by destroying hunting camps, and confiscating items such as rafts/canoes, and hunting rifles. The presence of the patrols is also beginning to act as a deterrent through the awareness raising activities of our team. Alongside this strengthening of the rules and regulations we have also upgraded elements of an eco-tourism product through the installation of a new solar energy system and by increasing the capacity to offer river excursions. The creation of the eco-tourism product is an opportunity to involve local people through direct employment. As it becomes established and visitor numbers increase it also provides an income stream for residents of all 23 villages surrounding the reserve as a proportion of the revenue from eco-tourism is paid to the village associations for the benefit of the local people.

Contribuido por

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Sandra Rowland The Aspinall Foundation

Contribuído por

Berthin Mbangui - Project Manager
The Aspinall Foundation - Congo
Amos Courage - Director of Overseas Projects
The Aspinall Foundation