Lyondji Bonobo Community Reserve (1030 km2)

Lyondji Bonobo Community Reserve

Lyondji Bonobo Community Reserve is one of the important habitats for Bonobos, the gentler and closest cousins of Chimpanzees in the wild. These primates are endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo with less than 25,000 of them still surviving on Earth. The 1080-square kilometer Reserve is just one of the many places that protect these beautiful creatures and was gazetted in 2012, especially to ensure their continued survival.

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Given the extraordinary creatures that it shelters, The Reserve has a great potential of becoming one of the biodiversity hot spots within the pristine Congo basin. However, it has faced endless pressures from the unregulated and uncontrolled hunting that exceeds sustainable harvest as well as illegal farming. Currently, the Reserve is under the management of Congolese Wildlife Authority, the Conservation department of the Government that is responsible for protecting threatened species that include Bonobos. Here, about 800 individuals have to be protecting while their natural habitats restored by introducing positive and long term behavior change within surrounding local communities.

Still on the challenges faced by this Community-based Protected Area, approximately 30% of its forests have been completely deforested in the recent years although mitigation strategies are being put in place to reduce the levels of impact as well as lessen the impacts of the problem. The expected result is to reduce rate of deforestation within the home of Bonobos and elsewhere within Lyondji Bonobo Community Reserve.

As earlier mentioned, Bonobos are only found in the Democratic Republic of Congo with less than 25000 individuals left and are presently classified as “endangered” under the IUCN Red List. Their main threats include illegal hunting for bushmeat, wildlife trade as well as loss and fragmentation of their woodland haven. The southern part of the Reserve is worse affected by illegal human activity which has been responsible for the dwindling numbers of Bonobos. Their vulnerability is worsened by the slow reproduction rate whereby females start being fertile at 13 years and have babies after every 4-5 years old.

Established in 2012, The Reserve is situated within one of the four Bonobo strongholds that include Maringa-Lopori-Wamba Lanscape, the Northern Block and has a total size of 416 square miles that include Tropical/Sub-tropical moist lowland forest and Tropical/sub-tropical swamp forest that offer shelter to the Bonobos (Pan Paniscus). With the Luo Scientific Reserve as well as Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve, the Lyondji Bonobo Community Reserve largely contributes to the contiguous 2172 square miles Bonobo Conservation stronghold.

Other animals in Lyondji Bonobo Community Reserve

Besides being a stronghold for the endangered Bonobos, Lyondji Bonobo Community Reserve is also known for sheltering Forest elephants, duikers, leopards, pangolins and sitatunga among others.

Perfect time to visit Lyondji Bonobo Community Reserve

The perfect time to explore Lyondji Bonobo Community Reserve is during the dry months (January, February, June, July, August, September and December) when water levels of the Congo basin are low and forest trails are ideal for guided walks when searching for Bonobos and other forest animals. While water levels increase and forest trails become wetter and slippery during the wet months (March April, May, October and November), the weather is still milder in addition to providing better chances of spotting animals.