Mushroom in Virunga National Park
As in the previous information, Mont Hoyo is very interesting for both tourism and research. For tourism as it has some potentials described latter and for research as there has been no research in the forest as we know.
The plan was to survey the area in order to gather biological information and give some useful recommendations. As a forest reserve and following DRC law, it must be fully protected and no human activity is allowed.
In our visit to Mont Hoyo, we noticed that there are several illegal activities carried by local population and some armed people. It has been a plan to get the army responsible to know that there are some illegal activities carried by armed people (soldiers) and nothing has been done on their side. In order to ensure that there is no shooting from these poachers, some actions were planned to arrest the poachers without shooting as people in the area are still stressed by war.
We planned the survey and get military and political authorities to know that we are planning a survey. Even if the security situation has worsened in the neighbouring areas of Mont Hoyo, this plan has been used to arrest the armed poachers in Mont Hoyo.
They were called to join the researcher team for administrative purposes and guide them while the real purpose was to get them arrested. This has been done and they are under arrest.
The other case is, during the biological surveys conducted in Semuliki (Virunga Park); during the research work, several poaching materials are destroyed and removed and large area is covered and give an global picture of the status of the area to manager. E.g.: there have been a hundred of snares removed from the Park, some area not covered by ranger patrols have been covered and the local community sensitised during evening walk in the village.
Left: Rope snare sample found in Virunga National Park – Right: Ranger in research team getting GPS data
With the money gained from surveys, local communities are aware that, if the protected area is destroyed there will never be any research in the area and they may not get any visitor compared to other areas where they are helping protected area managers to conserve.