Conservation in DR Congo

Cintia Garai has been working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for several years now. During her PhD she studied bonobos in the forest, and after that she started to work for different conservation projects. During her activities she always seeks for the opportunity to make films on different subjects to contribute to conservation efforts.

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Grauer’s Gorillas (2021)

A film made for Primate Expertise for environmental education among local communities around the Kahuzi-Biega National Park. The Grauer’s Gorilla, or Eastern Lowland Gorilla, is endemic to the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is a critically endangered subspecies. The largest living primate is much less known than its closest relative, the Mountain Gorilla. The Grauer’s Gorilla is habituated to human presence only in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park, the first park that habituated gorillas for tourism. The project had many benefits for conservation, but there was a big price to pay…

The trees – they live, and nurture life (2021)

A film for Primate Expertise to raise environmental awareness among local communities around the Kahuzi-Biega National Park. They are an essential part of nature. They can live thousands of years – if we, humans, will let them. And they give us so much if we let them live! Trees provide a lot of services not only for wildlife, but also for humans. And yet, there is a great human pressure on the trees in and around the Kahuzi-Biega National Park. Not many trees are left outside of the park, due to heavy deforestation. If the deforestation continues, it will cause many problems for the people living next to the park, and also for people living far away…

Research – to understand more about our world (2021)

A film for Primate Expertise to raise environmental awareness among local communities around the Kahuzi-Biega National Park. People who live around the Kahuzi-Biega National Park will have already seen researchers entering the park to do things that seem strange. Researchers can spend hours observing animals, or plants. They often write some notes in their little books, and then they leave. But what do they do, and why? What is research? Why is it important for nature conservation, and why is it important for the people who live around the park? These are the questions the film attempts to answer.

Conservation in and around the Kahuzi-Biega National Park by Primate Expertise (2020)

Primate Expertise (PEx) is a Congolese NGO, created by Dr. Augustin K. Basabose in 2013.
The aim of PEx is to inspire Congolese youth to become leaders in the research and conservation of non-human primates in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This film presents the work of PEx in and around the Kahuzi-Biega National Park.

Activités alternatives pour la conservation au Congo (2020)

Le Parc National de Kahuzi-Biega, comme tous les parcs nationaux en République Démocratique du Congo, pose des restrictions sur la communauté autour du parc. Il est interdit d’entrer dans le parc sans permission, ou de chasser, collecter du bois de chauffe, des herbes, des champignons, ou du miel. Mais Kahuzi-Biega diffère des autres parcs nationaux par l’absence d’une zone tampon, c’est-à-dire une zone entre la forêt du parc et la communauté. Sans cette zone tampon, la communauté autour du parc se trouve dans une situation difficile, parce qu’elle n’a pas d’accès a aucune ressource de forêt. Ainsi, la communauté a besoins des activités alternatives.

Elephant Poachers Surrender in the Lomami National Park (2020)

The Lomami National Park is a new park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, created in 2016. The same year, in 2016, elephants were still being poached in the Park and particularly in its buffer zone. In 2018, two leaders of poaching gangs expressed their desire to give up their illegal hunting, and to work for wildlife conservation instead. This short documentary shows the process as one of them completed the process of surrender with his gang, and started to work for the Congolese Nature Conservation Institute.

Balangala’s integration to the nursery of Lola ya Bonobo (2018)

This film is the last of a 4-episode series. Orphans like Balangala are victims of bushmeat trade – their mother has been killed by poachers. They were kept alive so that the poachers can sell them as pets. Bonobos are endangered – all these activities are illegal. Lola ya Bonobo, in collaboration with Congolese Authorities, rescue them. Here they get a new chance to a life that was meant to be lived in the wild. This video shows Balangala’s first time at the nursery, where he can re-learn how to interact with the other bonobos. Years later, if he is fully rehabilitated, he will be released into the rainforest of DRC.

Balangala’s first meeting with Kwango, another orphan bonobo (2018)

This film is the third of a 4-episode series. Orphans like Balangala are victims of bushmeat trade – their mother has been killed by poachers. They were kept alive so that the poachers can sell them as pets. Bonobos are endangered – all these activities are illegal. Lola ya Bonobo, in collaboration with Congolese Authorities, rescue them. Here they get a new chance to a life that was meant to be lived in the wild. This video shows Balangala’s interaction with another orphan bonobo for the first time since his confiscation and quarantine period.

The health check of Balangala, an orphan bonobo (2018)

This film is the second of a 4-episode series. Orphans like Balangala are victims of bushmeat trade – their mother has been killed by poachers. They were kept alive so that the poachers can sell them as pets. Bonobos are endangered – all these activities are illegal. Lola ya Bonobo, in collaboration with Congolese Authorities, rescue them. Here they get a new chance to a life that was meant to be lived in the wild. As all orphan bonobos, Balangala was checked by the veterinarians of Lola ya Bonobo rehabilitation center immediately after his arrival.

Balangala’s Arrival to the Bonobo Rehabilitation Center (2018)

This film is the first of a 4-episode series. Orphans like Balangala are victims of bushmeat trade – their mother has been killed by poachers. The baby bonobos are sometimes kept alive, and the poachers try to sell them as pets. Bonobos are endangered – all these activities are illegal. Lola ya Bonobo, in collaboration with Congolese Authorities, rescue them. In the rehabilitation center they get a new chance to a life that was meant to be lived in the wild: they receive a surrogate mother (a human one), and after a while they get reintegrated in one of the bonobo groups of Lola ya Bonobo.

Eat Fish for Wildlife Conservation (2017)

Making fishponds can serve as alternative activity to hunting and commercial bushmeat trade. In this short documentary we can see how the TL2 Project of the Lukuru Foundation developed a fishpond project for the local communities around the buffer zone of the Lomami National Park. This film was supported by the Rufford Foundation.

Grey Parrot Trade (2016)

This short film demonstrates the difficult conditions of the fight to protect African Grey Parrots in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The governor, recognizing that Maniema Province is an important hub for the illegal trade, declared all commerce of grey parrots in the Province illegal indefinitely. The airport in this Province is closed to parrot transport, but not in Kisangani in Tshopo Province… The result: thousands of parrots are shipped downstream from Maniema on the Congo River to Kisangani each month. Many of them die, but the profit is worth it. And as long as the markets exist, field conservationists will never be able to stop this trade.

Lola ya Bonobo for Kids (2014)

The target audience of this film is the children of the schools in Kinshasa, the capital of the DR Congo. And even though nothing can give back the experience of actually seeing firsthand a bonobo moving through the trees – as mirrored by the bright faces of the Congolese children in the film while visiting the sanctuary for the first time – it brings the message, and especially the bonobos, closer to the audience.

Lola ya Bonobo (2013)

In Lingala, one of the official languages of the Congo, it means ‘Paradise of Bonobos’. This is the only rehabilitation center for orphaned bonobos, victims of the bushmeat trade. Lola ya Bonobo is located at the edge of Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the only country on Earth, where we can find this species, the bonobo, our closest living relative along with the chimpanzee.

Training film on the line transect method (2012)

A training film in French about the line transect, a standardized method to measure forest biodiversity, with a focus on bonobo distributed areas. This film was made specifically to assist the TL2 project of the Lukuru Foundation. At the time, the TL2 Project explored an area of 30,000 km2 (about the size of Belgium) to get information about the biodiversity, and about the threats – mostly hunting. They continue working in the region. In 2016, the Lomami National Park was created in the area. Cintia continues working wit the project. This film was supported by the Rufford Foundation.

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