The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most endowed countries in the African continent and is honestly one of the most resource-rich countries in the entire World, sheltering almost two-thirds of the only surviving rain forests in the whole World, is a home to some of the most unique wildlife and bird species not found anywhere else in the world.
However, most of the countries attractions are endangered due to the high rate of poaching (Illegal harvesting of bush meat), rebel activities, encroachment by the local communities surrounding the natural attractions and high rate of deforestation. There are several wildlife species in the Democratic Republic of Congo that have been added to the Red List of Endangered animals and they include;
The Mountain Gorillas-Gorilla Beringei Beringei
These critically endangered species are found only three countries in the whole world, and in this country they are in the Eastern side of the country. Their world population is estimated at 880 and only 200 call the jungles of Virunga National park home. They are threatened by habitat loss, illegal bush meat and diseases-mostly the respiratory diseases. Would you like to meet the mountain gorillas in the wild? Why not book a Congo gorilla safari and get to see these great apes in Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest national park.
The Native Bonobos (also known as the Pygmy Chimpanzees)-Pan Paniscus
These Primates are natives of the Democratic Republic of Congo and inhabit the areas of the Congo Basin. There are number is currently estimated at between 30,000 and 50,000 individuals left in the whole world. The exceptional primates and close relatives to the Common Chimpanzees (Pan Troglodytes) are threatened by increased rate of habitat loss (because majority of the rebels control most of their habitats) and hunting for bush meat among others
The Eastern Lowland Gorillas-Gorilla beringei graueri
The Eastern lowland gorillas are sub-species of the eastern gorillas that are native to the Democratic Republic of Congo. These primates are found in the eastern side of the Democratic Republic of Congo and their population is currently estimated at only 5000 individuals in the whole world. They are mainly threatened by high rate of habitat loss due to rebel activities and poaching for their bush meat.
There are over 21 endangered species of fish in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Dusky grouper is one of them. These fish species are mainly endangered by the high rate of pollution resulting from toxic plant species and agricultural chemicals, unregulated fishing. Other endangered species include the Tanganyika lates, the Lubbert’s guitarfish, the Pincushion ray, the Victoria robber, the forktail lates and the Mai-ndombe dwarf sprat among others.
Exceptional Bird Species
The Democratic Republic of Congo is a home to over 14 endangered bird species and they include the White-backed vultures, the Egyptian vultures, the hooded vultures, the Rueppell’s vultures that are endangered due to habitat degradation and fragmentation, pollution, poor farming and mining operations that lead to loss of their feeding range and reduced quantity of food. Poisoning of carcasses has also greatly affected the Vulture populations that usually converge in large numbers of eat the carrion. Other notable endangered species of birds in this country include the Grauer’s swamp warbler, the golden-naped weavers, the Congo Bay owls, the spotted ground thrush, the grey crowned cranes, the Madagascar pond herons, the Nahan’s francolin, the Turner’s erommomeia, the Itombwe nightjar and the Prigogine’s greenbul among others.
The Common Chimpanzees-Pan Troglodytes
The Chimpanzees are also victims of illegal bush meat trade and are also used for exotic pet trade which has greatly reduced their numbers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tourists interested in Chimpanzee tracking in the Democratic Republic of Congo can do it from Virunga National Park in Eastern side of the country.
The African Wild Dogs-Lycaon Pictus
These mammals are sometimes known as the Cape Hunting Dogs or the Painted hunting dogs and are threatened by human activities that lead to rapid decline in their numbers with more than half of all adult deaths resulting from accidents by high speed vehicles, poisoning, gunshots and trapping using wire snares that contributes to the highest death rates. The encounter of the African Wild dogs with the domestic dogs leads to spread of lethal diseases like canine distemper and rabies among others.
Marine mammals especially the Fin whales scientifically known as the Balaenoptera physalus and the Sei Whales scientifically known as Balaenoptera borealis are some of the two whale subspecies added on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. It’s sad to learn that the population of the native whale species in Democratic Republic of Congo have declined for the past years. The advantage of these whales is that their endangerment status is quite reversible and their numbers are currently increasing due to the high rate of cessation of commercial whaling.
In conclusion, the whales, African Wild Dogs, the Mountain gorillas, the eastern lowland gorillas, the common chimpanzees, the Bonobos, several birds and fish species are endangered mainly due to hunting, diseases, continuous rebel activities and illegal bush meat trade among others that greatly reduce and affect their populations.