Salonga National Park (World Heritage)

Salonga National Park (World Heritage)

The world heritage includes the largest protected area of ​​the tropical rainforest in Central Africa. According to indexdotcom, the national park is located in the center of the Congo Basin and can only be reached by water. It is the habitat of numerous endangered endemic animal species, such as the Congo peacock, forest elephant and bonobo. The park has been on the red list since 1999.

Salonga National Park: Facts

Official title: Salonga National Park
Natural monument: very isolated national park, only accessible by water, area of ​​36,000 km² in two sectors that are 45 km apart; Heights of up to 700 m; hot and humid climate with average rainfall of up to 2000 mm / year; Humidity at 86% at temperatures up to 30 ° C
Continent: Africa
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bandundu and Kasai regions
Location: in the central basin of the Congo, south of Boende, northeast of Kinshasa
Appointment: 1984
Meaning: the largest contiguous tropical rainforest national park in the world
Flora and fauna: Vegetation with Gilbertiodendron dewevrei as well as Staudtia stipitata and Anonidium mannii; So far no systematic study of the fauna is available, but the existence of the following mammal species such as southern guereza, red colobus, giant and white-bellied pangolin, forest and cape elephant, hippopotamus, leopard, yellow-bridged duiker and okapi can be assumed

Dark, hot rainforest

There are habitats on our earth that, as it were, represent a world of their own and cannot be compared with other areas. This applies to alpine high mountain landscapes or deserts as well as to polar regions or underwater worlds. The tropical rainforest is also such a self-contained world, far more than just a “collection” of giant trees rising into the sky. It’s dark and hot here; Sweat constantly runs down the body. Rain drips steadily from the tall trees for many hours; if it stops, the evaporation creates oppressive sultriness.

In the Salonga National Park, which consists of a northern and southern part, the largest contiguous rainforest area in Africa has been placed under protection. Originally, they simply wanted to protect the bonobos, a species very similar to the chimpanzee, which is one of the closest relatives of humans. However, there are now doubts whether there are any bonobos in Salonga at all. Nevertheless, other rare animal species occur here, such as different types of monkey or the small, short-horned species of Cape buffalo, such as the bongo, a stately horned animal with reddish-brown fur, or the sitatunga, a forest buck that has adapted to life in swamps and water, such as as Good swimmers, such as the hare-sized deer piglet or the Congo peacock.

One of the most important goals of today’s efforts to preserve the original natural spaces of the earth is the preservation of “biodiversity”, the gigantic diversity of all living things. The benchmark for this is usually the number of living species, of which just under one and a half million have been named. The total number of all existing species is estimated to be up to 100 million – it should be borne in mind that the number of arthropod species in the rainforest alone is estimated at ten million. But just trying to measure the number of species is not enough. The diversity of nature finally reveals itself in the shapes and colors of living beings, in their genetic blueprints, a spectrum of possible behavior that can hardly be assessed is also part of it. With the incessant extermination of thousands upon thousands of species, it is not “just” their number that is reduced – from the point of view of mankind, this also reduces the opportunities to learn from nature and to be able to use it carefully. Because with the destroyed species, an indescribable abundance of biological systems is lost forever, with them an almost unimaginable number of biochemical processes and thus also countless opportunities to find solutions to numerous human problems: from the discovery of new medicines for previously incurable diseases to models energy utilization through to food for thought to change our behavior in a meaningful way.

The main sites of species destruction worldwide are the rainforests: sometimes spectacular images of forest fires on Borneo and in the Amazon basin go around the world, sometimes the guild writing and taking photos is silent about the steadily advancing destruction of the rainforest, in which the density of individual creatures is not “so” great is, but the abundance of species. In the so-called »climax society« of the rainforest, the development of new species proceeds more calmly and more slowly than in other regions of the world. Since the living conditions have remained largely constant for thousands of years, all species had time to optimally adapt their phylogenetic development to the circumstances, to categorize themselves with other species and to use ecological niches.

The immeasurable value of the Salonga National Park lies in its pristine nature and extent. In view of the biological relationships outlined here, it is as great a challenge as it is inevitable to remove this piece of earth from destructive human access. A difficult undertaking, as the park is on the red list of endangered world heritage from 1984 to 1992 and again since 1999 due to poaching, poor management due to political and financial instability, etc. International donors, including the German Reconstruction Loan Corporation (KfW), then supported the park management, but since the beginning of 2018 the Congolese President Kabila approved the start of test drillings to search for oil in the national park.

Salonga National Park (World Heritage)