In 2012 and 2013 field teams went out to refine a few points on the 2011 version of the Lomami National Park map. Two villages on the east bank of the Lomami in Orientale Province were excluded, Lokobekobe and Mukwara; this meant only one village remained within park borders, Obenge. And as of the end of 2013 that village had emptied out — entirely. There was also a protrudent bulge the chiefs of the Balanga sector in Maniema Province wanted eliminated. It was eliminated. A few other small changes were made to assure easily identifiable ground characters — mainly streams. Here is the result:
This replaces the version below mainly by reducing the area of what was already agreed in November 2011 by the governors of both Orientale Province and Maniema Province. They both signed their agreement to the future Lomami National Park as shown below in central DR Congo and in their provinces.
The above maps were made by Nick January of Canadian Ape Alliance from the data collected by the TL2 field teams from 2007 through 2013, including ground truthing park limits, water courses, roads and village locations.
A HISTORY in maps follows:
This map of the Congo Free State from the end of the 19th century, shows that although the course of the Congo/Lualaba River was known, neither the Tshuapa River nor the Lomami River had been traced very far upstream.
Eric Lindquist, then at South Dakota State University, helped us with the land cover classification above showing clearly the absence of roads or settlement in the Lomami River basin.
Based partly on the distribution of unsettled forest we laid out the tentative area of concentration as shown in black outline above. Once on the ground however, we found the forests south of Kisangani to be empty of large mammals (bushmeat trade) and the southern forests to be richer than anticipated, containing previously unknown populations of bonobos (green circles).
We found an important remnant population of forest elephants (perhaps 700) north of the concentration of bonobos.
Not only the distribution of bonobos and elephant, but of all remaining large mammals indicated that our area of concentration should be farther south. The forests south of Kisangani and further west in Equateur and Kasai Oriental had already been emptied by bushmeat hunters. This map shows our new focal area as of 2009.
After just the first two years of reconnaissance surveys and transect data collection, it was clear that the number-one threat to animals was hunting for the bushmeat markets in larger towns. Hunters often came from far away to set up long snare lines in the TL2 forests. Shot-gun owners in the cities sent their 12-caliber shotguns to TL2 to make a profit. Clearly, these forests, too, would soon be emptied if no action was taken.
By 2009 we had a first, draft proposal on the table for a national park and surrounding conservation area or reserve. The idea was supported by the national parks institute (ICCN), but it still had no reality on the ground.
The people to reach belonged to seven different major ethnic groups. We reduced the park’s borders such that no settlements were within its limits. The sector chiefs of the Lengola and the Mituku requested that the park borders be expanded into additional unsettled forests in their areas. In the end, the national park proposal presented to the governors made these adjustments as shown in the map 2nd from top of this page. Slight modifications afterwards allowed us to remove all but one village and answer the objections of a few chiefs. As it stands (end of 2013) the agreed national park will include more than 8,800 km2 .