This is the largest forest park in Africa, located deep inside the Democratic Republic of Congo. Salonga National Park covers 33,350km2, which makes it the largest forest national park in Africa and the second largest tropical forest park in the world. It was created in 1970 and classified as a World Heritage Site in 1984. This park is a home of forest elephants, bonobos, the indigenous peacock bongos and giant pangolins. It has about 51 species of mammals, 223 species of birds and 129 species of fish.
Salonga National park holds 40% of the world bonobo population and these stay near the Congo River. Bonobos share 98.7% of their genetic code with humans, making them, along with chimpanzees, our closest living relatives.
The two look very similar, although bonobos are a bit smaller in most cases, leaner and darker than chimpanzees. Bonobo live in groups, are more peaceful and the groups are led by females are led by females.
Central Africa is losing its elephant population at an alarming rate, and Salonga is no exception.
Since 2015, WWF took over the co- management of Salonga National park together with the Congolese park authority ICCN (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature). The two work to protect the park by reducing the illegal trade of bush meat and endangered species, enhancing law enforcement and prosecution of perpetrators, while also ensuring livelihoods for the people living in the buffer zone area near Salonga National park.
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