We are more than 25 long-term staff spread out in several teams in three provinces of central DR Congo. The teams themselves are working from different field-bases or village camps in the basins of the three rivers, the Tshuapa, Lomami, and Lualaba (TL2). We are mainly Congolese staff; some grew up in the TL2 region and came on first as temporary camp help but now organize missions and lead teams.
Our crew, working together, makes a top-notch, productive unit, not only because of field knowledge and observation skills, but also because of diplomatic skills, negotiation and conflict resolution and prevention.
You can read about me in the side bar. That’s enough, don’t you think? A few more details are in “Who is Terese and why is she writing here” and in a National Geographic video from back in the days. With wonderfully warm receptions like this, no wonder I stay in Congo
John, Scientific Director
I first came to Congo in 1973 to live with and document the ecology of the Mbuti Pygmies in Congo’s eastern forests. That was the beginning of the bushmeat hunting era. We have watched commercial hunting spread further and further into the heart of the forest since then. Over the last 20 years I have been inventorying animals in different forests around central Africa. Now, finally, we are finding out what is in the very center of the most central of all African forests, between the Tshuapa, Lomami and Lualaba (=TL2). A little more history is here. John surrounded by his field team in the northern TL2, the Balengola area.
About the team leaders
I first started working with Terese and John and for conservation in DRCongo in 1994. I am now part of the Congolese Conservation Institute (ICCN). I come from north of Bunia in the far east of Congo and am of the Hema tribe, but we spoke Kilendu not Kihema at home when I was growing up. Now I speak KiSwahili at home because my wife is from another ethnic group. We have six children. MamaTerese asked what I thought was the most interesting part of the TL2 work so far: I have found the southern Province of Maniema important for 2 reasons:
- The people are friendly and welcoming
- There is evidence of lots of animals, particularly bonobo, but also other primates and ungulates.
I, too, am from the territory of Mankoto near Salonga National Park. That is where I was born but my mother comes from the northeastern part of the country, so at home growing up we spoke Lingala although the native language is Kimongo. I now speak Lingala at home with my wife and five children. My first work for conservation was working on elephant surveys in Salonga National Park. In TL2 the area that seemed most amazing to me was where the forest met the savanna in the far south between the Lomami and the Lualaba. It is beautiful and we see animals of both the forest and the savanna. Maurice collecting gifts, another warm reception
Locations of staff
2 field camps are on the Lomami River
4 village bases are in tiny settlements outside the new (soon to be) Lomami National Park
3 small office/lodgings in Kindu, Kisangani and Kinshasa.