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Global Ideas

Fighting to save Africa’s biodiversity

Political instability in the Central African Republic affects the region’s wildlife as well. Following a coup, the Dzanga-Sangha reserve can no longer be properly run. That’s opened the door to rampant illegal poaching.

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The rainforest of the Central African Republic is home to rare wild elephants, marsh antelopes and lowland gorillas which are protected by international organizations. But the country is one of the most politically instable places in the world. Following a coup, poachers and armed militias stormed the base of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the Dzanga-Sangha reserve earlier this year. The station was destroyed and around 30 elephants were killed. Until today, environmental activists and conservationists are unable to return to the park because the situation remains dangerous and chaotic. It’s not just the local population that is suffering as a result, but also the region’s elephants, antelopes and gorillas. Poaching remains a highly lucrative business in the region as well as in the protected reserves in the neighboring states of Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Poor equipment, corruption and weak political will have complicated efforts to halt species loss in the DRC. However, there’s no dearth of funds to help protect biodiversity in the region. The International Climate Initiative (IKI), Germany’s government-owned KfW bank and other organizations have set aside millions to protect deforestation, illegal poaching and the exploitation of natural resources.

A film by Jürgen Schneider

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