Across the Atlantic Ocean from the Amazon, lies 13 546 km2 of pristine wilderness at the center of the world’s second largest rainforest, the earth’s other lung: Odzala-Kokoua National Park.
Located in the northern parts of the Republic of Congo, Odzala-Kokoua National Park is a region of great biological diversity and home to an astounding 400 bird species, 114 mammal species and in excess of 4 400 varieties of plants.
The forest elephant is regarded as a keystone species of the park, thus the ecosystem of the forest is dependent on the elephant’s survival. The forest elephant is different to the bush elephant in that it is smaller in size with a darker colouring and straighter tusks making it well adapted to the Congo rainforest.
Odzala is also the last stronghold for the western lowland gorilla along with 16 other primate species. For more on the gorillas of Odzala click here.
Central Africa is also home to the vivacious African grey parrot which is the most traded wild-caught parrot in the world, according to CITES, making Odzala one of the few places on earth that one can see these birds in the wild and not in a cage.
Communities located on the periphery of the park have been incorporated into the managing of the park with 122 locals being employed by the park.
In an attempt to curb poaching in the reserve game-breeding and cacao plantations initiatives are being explored to create community upliftment and economic opportunities.