Can we protect hippos from poaching in Virunga?

Major causes of declines in wildlife in developing countries witnessed during the recent decades have been population growth, habitat fragmentation, inadequate land use practices and management, lack of economic alternatives, and unsustainable use of resources. In a conflict region like the Easternof the Democratic Republic of Congo, the fauna has been targeted by different armed groups and local people for meat and illegal wildlife and wildlife product trafficking. Among species that have been most poached is thecommon hippopotamus.

Hippopotamus in Ishasha River near a Ranger camp

In Virunga National Park (ViNP*) for example, numbers dropped by 98% from 30,000 in the 1970s to 629 individuals in 2006. With increased patrolling and transboundary cooperation between the DRC and Uganda park authorities, there is hope that hippopotamuses will still exist in Virunga National as the Ishasha river still inhabit a bit of hippopotamus population.

Hippopotamus in Ishasha River near a Ranger camp

The patrolling efforts along the hippopotamus habitats are still low and there is need of closer monitoring to protect them from poaching for bushmeat.


Thanks to Robert J., Anna, Jessica, Emmerentiane and Antonio for their support to our activities!


* The abbreviation ViNP to distinguish Virunga National Park in DRC from Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda

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