The Salonga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most important national parks in the entire African continent. It is a World Heritage listed park of 36 000 square kilometres.
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Deep in the heart of the African continent lies the rainforest clad Salonga National Park. This national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo conserves the largest stand of rainforest on the African continent and protects a number of rare and threatened species including the Dwarf Chimpanzee (Bonobo), Forest Elephant, White Rhinoceros, Mountain Gorilla, Lowland Gorilla, Okapi and the African Slender-Snouted Crocodile. Over 150 species of birds have been found in the national
The Salonga National Park was first established in 1970 and covers some 36 000 square kilometres. It is listed on the World Heritage List, with UNESCO playing a major role in its continued existence.
The national park can only be accessed via rivers, as there is no road access to the park. This area really is wilderness, with little in the way of visitor infrastructure provided. The park is located at the centre of the Congo River Basin.
Sadly the Salonga National Park is threatened with destruction through the ravages of war, as well as by the invasion of poachers. Staff at the national park face constant dangers and some in the past have fled in order to protect their lives.
Hunting by poachers for 'bush meat' is probably the greatest threat facing the national park and the various threatened species within its borders.
The threat of deforestation because of timber getting may become a problem in the future as more peaceful conditions return to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Salonga is home to many threatened species and many of these are now facing the very real danger of extinction, especially at the local level. Some species are restricted in their range to the Democratic Republic of Congo only and the threat to these species is particular of concern.
UNESCO is working with national park staff to protect the integrity of the national park and the conservation of its wildlife. Donations can be made to this important work by visiting the following web site: