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Development project 1 of 16
Title
Agricultural training and livestock distribution
Location
Communities around Mount Tshiaberimu, DR Congo
Gorillas
Eastern lowland gorillas
Local Partner:   MAIDENI
Description

With just 17 individuals remaining, the tiny gorilla population at Mount Tshiaberimu, located in a northern annex of the Virunga National Park, DR Congo, is facing extinction. The impoverished communities surrounding the mountain are dependent on its forests for resources including food, water and firewood, but trespassing to collect these is destroying the gorilla habitat. To address this, the Gorilla Organization partnered with local NGO MAIDENI (Mouvement et Action Intellectuels pour la Développement Ecologique de Naturalistes Intégrés) in 2005 to rear and distribute pigs in the communities, decreasing the level of trapping in the park and reducing protein malnutrition.

The overall objective of the project is to reduce human pressure on Mount Tshiaberimu. The specific objectives are:

  • To rear and distribute pigs in the communities surrounding Mount Tshiaberimu
  • To improve health through a reduction in protein malnutrition
  • To educate the communities on the importance of conservation and foster a positive attitude towards environmental protection

 

Progress

To date, a total of four piggeries have been constructed within the communities surrounding Mount Tshiaberimu, and when the project began, beneficiaries were trained in all aspects of rearing pigs and how to care for them. Committees have been formed for each of the piggeries to oversee activities, while regular visits from a veterinarian ensure the pigs are free from disease and in good health.

Once the pigs have given birth, one of their weaned offspring is returned to MAIDENI, ready to be passed on to further beneficiaries. In this way, the project is extended to as many people as possible within the target communities. From an initial breeding stock of just 20 sows and two boars, 274 pigs have so far been distributed, 174 of them in 2008 alone. Maintenance work is carried out as necessary to improve the durability and longevity of the piggeries, ensuring the pigs’ living conditions remain at a high standard.

In addition to rearing pigs, the beneficiaries have also been trained in basic agriculture, facilitating the growth of crops that cover their subsistence needs and generate a low level of income. Awareness-raising educates the communities on the need for conservation within Mount Tshiaberimu and is helping to foster a more positive attitude towards the environment and gorillas.

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