Turning into a hiding place for several armed militias, being under threat of poaching and the trafficking of protected species, and suffering from high demand for wood for the local populations: Between 1990 and 2010, the oldest park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo became a shadow of its former glory.
Over the past decade, new management has tried to turn the tide, and those efforts are beginning to pay off. Tourism has resumed, the gorilla population is increasing, and some animals that had fled are coming back on their own.
The park has been fenced off to prevent wild animals from eating the food of local populations. There have been investments in green energy to reduce human pressure on the park’s resources, such as hydroelectric power stations to supply low-cost electricity. Rangers fight against poachers and militias, with some losing their lives in the process.
However, a lot remains to be done. Journalist Mukulu Vulotwa Hervé investigates the costs and benefits of this turnaround.