In November 2011, the governors of both Orientale Province and Maniema Province signed their agreement to these limits of the future Lomami National Park in central DR Congo.
Above map prepared early 2012 by Nick January of Canadian Ape Alliance from the data collected by the TL2 field teams from 2007 through 2011, 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 (top of this page) was considerably larger. As it stands (2012) the agreed national park will include more than 9,500 km2 .