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Kahuzi Biega National Park

The Kahuzi Biega National Park was gazetted in 1970 to protect and conserve the Eastern Lowland gorillas. It covers an area of 6000 sq km in the province of South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is made up by two different zones: on one side the mountain forest covering 600 sq km and where tourist activities are taking place, at an altitude of 1800 m to 3300 m; on the other side the tropical forest between 600 m and 1200 m, which is largely unprotected and situated in the central basin of Zaire. The mountain forest is surrounding the main mountains which give the name to national park, Mount Kahuzi (3.308 m) and Mount Biega (2.790 m).

There are 13 species of primates in the park: first of all the chimpanzees, Dwarf galago, Bosman’s potto, Red tailed monkey, Blue monkey, Mona monkey, owl-faced monkey, L’Hoest monkey, Grey-checked mangabey, red colobus, Angolan Black and white colobus.

Kahuzi Biega National Park Map

Kahuzi Biega forest, like other forests in central Africa, has seen increasing clearance by burning activities for cultivation. In recent decades poaching was documented, by increasing occurrence of snares and nooses. Especially gorillas and monkeys have been much affected by injuries. Moreover, the region of Kivu is rich in minerals like gold and this has created pressure over the forest. It is estimated that more than 9000 Bashi, Batembo and Barega (Rega) people are leaving in the park, in the lower forests.

The most important tourist activity in the park is the lowland gorillas tracking from the visitors centre of Tshivanga. Actually, in the history of gorilla tourist activities, Kahuzi Biega is the first national park introducing the gorilla trekking, back in 1975.

In 2010 there are three habituated families, Chimanuka, Mankoto and Mugaruka. With ten families of gorillas remaining in the park area, the estimated number of gorillas today is 140 individuals only. A previous survey conducted in 1992 was showing the presence of 25 families with a total number of 284 individuals. The political turmoil which followed during the 90th and till recent time has affected much the conservation of the species.