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
What I like most about the work is the anticipation. What new bird, bug, spider, lizard, or flower will I see during the day? And sometimes they are even new to science. I love the mystery and the subtlety of so much of the forest. There are birdcalls I have heard for years and never yet identified… read more
Program manager of the TL2 Project
He was born in a small village in the territory of Wamba, 1982, in Province of Haut Uele. He is the youngest son of the eight children of the first of four wives. In all his father, a coffee farmer, had 19 children. His father died when Willy was 5. He lived in the village until he was 8 years old, then he moved to Kisangani where his older brother, Jean-Remy, helped him get an education… read more
When people want to reject what he tells them, Maurice becomes frustrated. But he knows it is part of the work and he just has to overcome it and keep trying. For instance now he is putting in park boundary markers and three villages in the south of the park had a different idea of where the limits were located. Local people are not familiar with maps or GPS; they believe that what they approved years ago is different from what is written down. Maurice accompanies them to the field, they have to talk and talk. Lack of education is a real problem…. read more
Program Coordinator for Tshopo Province
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.
Ambassador for the program to support conservation law enforcement, PALL (le Projet d’Appui à la Loi dans Lomami); Public relations officer Maniema
A turning point for Léon was when he learned that his colleague, Boni, was twice slashed with a machete while struggling to get the shotgun out of the hands of a poacher who had shot at his patrol team in the park. Boni prevailed; the man with the machete fled and Leon tried to get justice. Unfortunately a bushmeat lobby was there first. It was Boni who received the arrest warrant not the poacher with the gun, and the project was asked to close its doors. Leon managed to reverse these two decisions, but never to get justice. Leon understood that there was a long way to go to get conservation laws taken seriously and to make the courts work to implement the law not the wishes of lobbies… read more
Program Coordinator for Maniema Province
“Hunting damaged the forest of the village where I was born, all the forest elephants disappeared, the apes, monkeys and duikers became very rare. Watching these I felt it was not right, and always wanted to do something about it…” read more
PALL Deputy in Tshopo Province
Robert first heard about conservation in his village, not far from the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. Robert’s father – the headmaster of a local elementary school –recognized the significance of conservation. “My father told us now the world is going in a direction where conservation needs to have an important role. You should learn about this. In my time, I couldn’t go to university, but you have the opportunity.” And Robert listened to him… read more
Team Leader, in charge of the camera trap program in Maniema Province
Junior is a field person; he spends most of his time in the forest and loves it. His main responsibility is the camera traps, but he also participates in other mammal monitoring: walking transects to record animal sign and surveillance patrols that also monitor the main threat — hunting… read more