At the center of Congo, at the bend in the great River Congo, there is a town that was once – in the colonial era –an industrial center and was once – in early post-independence – a hopeful university town, but that since has been pulled down first by the slow suck of economic decline and then racked by repeated bloody eruptions. Kisangani is now quietly being reborn – a disciplined, progressive transformation.
A new governor for Oriental Province (Kisangani is the capital) is making repairs to roads, the airport, government buildings; he is doing away bit by bit with a culture of corruption; he is using taxes for the general good AND he is methodically signing decrees that steer the way to a more hopeful tomorrow.
One decree he just signed creates the Lomami provincial park.
Maniema already created a provincial park (2010) that matched our proposed park boundaries, but the whole north part of the park, in Oriental, was no man’s land. It was for the elephant poachers and criminals like Colonel Thoms and 50cents.
The ICCN director in Kisangani, Paulin Tshikaya, has been assiduously pushing for provincial status. Only with legal status could park guards control a rampant commercial bushmeat trade. Only by clearing out the bushmeat commerce could we hope to protect the elephants. The supply lines of ammunition are undercover and linked with bushmeat transport.
With the new governor, there are new opportunities for conservation and environmental responsibility. The decree he signed earlier this month means that national park rules pertain throughout the future Lomami National Park . Join us in a toast.