Who is Terese and why is she writing here?

Back in Epulu, where Terese Hart started her PhD research, and stayed on in conservation with WCS.

After more than thirty years in DR Congo, I am now coordinator of the TL2 project (Tshuapa-Lomami-Lualaba project). I work closely with Ashley, who is now paddling up the Lomami and keeping us updated in this blog. But you will read me here, too, working to the north and west of TL2 and putting nature conservation in the local context — as I understand it.

I came to the Ituri Forest in 1974 as a Peace Corps volunteer. Those two years I taught high school Biology, lived in a Swahili-speaking family and collected dragonflies. John Hart, a friend from college, also in Congo, and I decided to get married. This idea came one night on a two-month bicycle trip we took along the Albertine Rift.

In 1980 we returned to DR Congo together, with a 2 year old daughter, to do our PhD research, John on rain forest antelope and myself, the trees. After two and a half years in the Ituri Forest we returned to the States, now with two daughters.

The first project John and I shared was a study of rainforest giraffe, the Okapi. Based in Congo’s Ituri Forest we captured okapi, put on radio collars and then followed the released animals with hand-held antenna over a 50 sq km checkerboard trail system. During that four-year project our third (and last) daughter was born. New York Zoological Society continued to support us as we diversified our animal and forest work. We also built a Research and Training Center (CEFRECOF) and I was first director. We worked with our colleagues to assure that part of the Ituri Forest was protected as the Okapi Reserve.

During the years of Congo’s Civil Wars 1996 – 2002, I moved to a more national approach to conservation. From the capital, Kinshasa, I served briefly as national director for an international conservation NGO. Now, still from a Kinshasa base, I work independently with conservation of Congo’s little-known natural richness as first priority. And top of the list is exploration of the Tshuapa-Lomami-Lualaba basins (TL2). As coordinator of the TL2 project, I am convinced we will find out what must be protected and help make conservation a reality.



  1. michael kramhoeller
    Posted 2007-06-19 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    this african women are looking very proud. what is a congo without foretst.

    please continue your work.

  2. Posted 2007-06-19 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    And I was proud to be with them. It was a strange sort of celebration. One of the guards wives had become a widow about a year earlier, killed by a poacher in the park, and we were celebrating her husband

  3. Caroline Wood
    Posted 2009-02-06 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    I am doing picture research for an article on Sandy Rossi and the incident with the crocodile for the Reader’s Digest book “They Lived To Tell The Tale”. I am looking for photos of the River Epulu, and, if possible, photos of Sandy Rossi, Ken Cockrane, Bekah and JoJo. I would be grateful if you could please send me low resolution jpegs in the next few days. We would request high resolution files of those we select for use. I also wondered if there was local press coverage of the incident and if you could please give me a contact email address for Sandy?
    I do hope you don’t mind me writing to you out of the blue, and I look foward to hearing from you.
    With many thanks
    Best wishes
    Caroline Wood
    Picture Research
    24 Cleveland Road
    London SW13 0AB

  4. Posted 2009-02-19 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Dear Teresa,
    I am immensely disturbed about the fate of the Congo elephants. I will pass on your info. What can we do to reverse this situation? Action is urgent and I see you are sharing this. Elephants are my daily bread so to speak and I work on their behalf for over a decade.
    The Cites decision proves to be devastating for most elephant countries. My support for the Bonobos too!
    Stay safe ~ Elke R.

  5. Posted 2009-10-22 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Dear Terese

    I salute you for your contribution to the world. I wish to meet you one day on my trip to the Congo. I live in Malden , MA and have written a book. Please check it out on http://www.amazon.com the title is “The hurdles of a young doctor in the democratic Republic of Congo” http://www.thehurdlesofdoctor.com . I am familiar with that region because I lived in Kisangani for 9 years. Pierre

  6. zel
    Posted 2010-12-14 at 1:20 pm | Permalink


    I would like to visit okapi reserve in january but I have no idea how to reach epulu. Please, could you explain me how to go there from Rwanda? Or, is it better to go there from Uganda?

    Thanks in advance!

  7. Posted 2011-07-09 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    Good day !

    I wanted to ask if there is any chance of accepting more people to work together with you even to volunteer ? I’m really interested in your project !

    Best regards,


  8. Laetitia Rossi
    Posted 2017-03-10 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Dear John and Teresa,

    I’m a journalist working for French TV. I’m preparing a story about the mythes and realities around the creature Big foot. One of the scientific explanations about this myth being it’s an ape whose image has been fantasised in several countries, I’d like to talk to a scientific about new spicies. I saw that you discovered the Lesula and I would love to have your opinion about the possibility of having undiscovered species still alive today. Would you be okay for me to call you just for a quick chat?

    best regards,
    Laetitia Rossi
    Phone: (+91) 8800978863
    Whatsapp: (+33) 667260336

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] the 1980s neither John nor I (this is Terese writing, John’s wife and Ashley’s collaborator) thought Okapi were west of the […]

  2. […] the 1980s neither John nor I (this is Terese writing, John’s wife and Ashley’s collaborator) thought Okapi were west of the […]

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