Congolese students conduct research in Salonga

January 10, 2019

As part of the development of the biomonitoring plan of the Salonga, two students from the Faculty of Agronomy of the University of Kinshasa conducted a 14 days field mission in Salonga National Park from 21 December 2018 to 3 January 2019.

One student specifically looked into the development of a monitoring protocol for baïs. The other one validated desk top research on the situation of the Congolese peafowl and the development of a biomonitoring protocol for this iconic bird. The students efforts will contribute to develop methodologies for monitoring the park’s conservation targets.

Baïs are forest clearings, characterized by shallow water and grassy areas where many species of large mammals like elephants, buffaloes, Bongos, and Sitatunga gather frequently. They are also often called elephant baths or “Botoka Ndjoku”. The Congolese Peafowl, an endemic and emblematic bird of the Congo Basin, with important populations present at the Salonga remains an animal still poorly known. In Salonga they are frequent visitors of camera traps where they are often captured on film. In addition, the two trainees also recorded signs of of bonobos presence like food remeins or nests where these apes spend the night.

Elie, one of the students, shared his impressions: “We learned a lot on data collection, forest navigation and a little more in-depth use of certain materials  like GPS, Cyber-tracker, and Compass. This internship also allowed us to reconcile the theory learned during class hours with realities on the ground, which makes us think that it is imperative for our teachers to enrich their courses”.

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