Ivindo National Park, Gabon

Ivindo National Park, Gabon Photo
©Jim Large

Straddling the equator, Gabon’s Ivindo National Park has some of the most impenetrable rainforests and wildest rivers on Earth. The densely vegetated, humid 1,200-square-mile region of West Africa is a haven for apes and monkeys—chimpanzees, gorillas, and spot-nosed monkeys to name just a few. A large natural clearing in this vast forest, called Langoué Bai, is frequented by forest elephants and lowland gorillas that are seemingly unafraid of humans.

In the upper Djidji—a blackwater river—slender-snouted crocodiles bask along the shore, Congo swamp otters look for crabs, and African gray parrot screech in the raphia trees. One of Africa’s most elusive birds, Picathartes, inhabits the outcrops around the forest streams and waterfalls. Along its course, the Djidji turns into rapids that run through stands of majestic screw pines and then drops nearly 100 feet in massive waterfalls.

Fast Facts

  • Ivindo contains the Kongou, Djidji, and Mingouli waterfalls, the most spectacular in forested West Africa.
  • Langoué Bai has the largest concentration of large tusker elephants in Gabon.


Challenges

Ivory poaching and commercial bushmeat hunting are significant threats to the wildlife in Ivindo. Forestry companies surrounding the park build dense networks of logging roads that, if not controlled, allow hunters to penetrate deep into the park. There are proposals for construction of a hydroelectric dam at the Kongou waterfalls and a railway line in close proximity to the park, which would ship iron ore from the northeast corner of Gabon.

WCS Responds

WCS’s history in Gabon began in 1985 with the first surveys of forest elephants. We remain the largest and most influential international conservation NGO (non-governmental organization) working to protect Ivindo and other vital wild places in Gabon. Our activities include monitoring of wildlife and law enforcement, land use planning, and building the capacity of our Gabonese counterparts to be strong conservation managers. We also work with logging companies to develop best practices that minimize the potential impact of this industry on the wildlife residing in the concessions and adjacent Ivindo National Park.

From the Newsroom

Researchers Focus on Small PredatorsOctober 2, 2013

Aided by camera traps and bushmeat hunting records, a team of researchers maps 12 carnivores in Gabon.

Forest Elephants Are Running Out of SpaceAugust 17, 2011

In the rainforests of Central Africa, hunters are finding their way into once inaccessible terrain, spelling disaster for forest elephants.

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