Salonga National Park Democratic Republic of the Congo

Salonga National Park is Africa's largest tropical rainforest reserve. Situated at the heart of the central basin of the Congo river, the park is very isolated and accessible only by water. It is the habitat of many endemic endangered species, such as the dwarf chimpanzee, the Congo peacock, the forest elephant and the African slender-snouted or 'false' crocodile. At the heart of the central basin of the River Congo, Salonga National Park is the largest protected area of dense rainforest on the African continent (when considering the two disjointed sectors of the Park). Very isolated and only accessible by water transport, this vast Park (3,600,000 ha) contains the important evolution of both species and communities in a forest area still relatively intact. Playing also the fundamental role for the climate regulation and the sequestration of carbon, it constitutes the habitat of numerous threatened species such as the pygmy chimpanzee (or bonobo), the bush elephant and the Congo peacock.

Salonga National Park Congo
Continent: Africa
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Category: Danger List
Criterion: (VII) (IX)
Date of Inscription: 1984

Vast marshland areas

Salonga National Park represents one of the very rare existing biotopes absolutely intact in central Africa. Moreover, it comprises vast marshland areas and practically inaccessible gallery forests, which have never been explored and may still be considered as practically virgin. The plant and animal life in Salonga National Park constitute an example of biological evolution and the adaptation of life forms in a complex equatorial rainforest environment. The large size of the Park ensures the continued possibility for evolution of both species and biotic communities within the relatively undisturbed forest.

Salonga National Park Congo Heritage
Interior Village

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Divided by two sectors

Salonga National Park, created in 1970, with an area of 3,334,600 ha, is divided into two sectors (North and South) by a corridor outside the Park of about forty km wide. The Park is one of the most extensive in the world and its area is sufficiently important to offer viable habitats to its fauna and flora. The fact that the Park is divided into two distinct sectors suggests that biological corridors must be foreseen in the unlisted portion between the two sectors, to create an ecological liaison between these two zones.

Roughly one third of the southern sector of the Park is occupied by groups of pygmies and a part of this occupied land is claimed by the local population. The boundaries of the property are intact due to the existence of major rivers that form recognized, precise and natural boundaries and this despite the presence of some villages inside the Park.

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