A Photo Glimpse of the Congo

Goodbye to Etate

As head of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee’s Bonobo & Congo Biodiversity Initiative (BCBI), Dr. Gay E. Reinartz spends nearly six months each year in Africa’s Democratic Republic of Congo. During her October-December 2009 field season, Dr. Reinartz and the BCBI team visited the Zoological Society’s research station, Etate, in Salonga National Park. (Dr. Reinartz kept a field diary about her trip.) They trained new Congolese employees and delivered supplies. Other accomplishments included:

  • The BCBI team delivered seeds and farming tools to several local villages neighboring the Salonga National Park for the agriculture cooperative that BCBI started and now helps run. An agriculture consultant who partners with the ZSM checked on the villagers’ progress.  In addition to rice, beans and manioc (a starch), the villagers will try to grow soybeans in 2010.  Growing their own crops helps local residents to avoid poaching animals for food.
  • The BCBI team also delivered supplies and provisions for guards who live at Etate year-round.
  • Two new BCBI student teachers came to Etate to help teach biomonitoring techniques to park guards. See this for more on the teacher trainees.
  • The primary schools at three villages supported by the Zoological Society received textbooks, pencils and other materials.  For more on the schools and the farming cooperative, click here.
  • Dr. Reinartz and the BCBI team met with a group of parents whose children attend the schools. The parent committee was given money to pay teacher salaries.
  • The field team found bonobo nests in the forest. They also discovered poaching camps and evidence of elephant poaching.

Contributors to this slide show were Dr. Gay E. Reinartz (who provided the photos), Shawna Joachim and Julia Kolker.