The rainforests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo contain great biodiversity, including many
rare and endemic species, such as the common chimpanzee and the bonobo (formerly known as the
Pygmy Chimpanzee), the forest elephant, mountain gorilla, okapi and white rhino.
Five of the country’s national parks are listed as World Heritage Sites: the Garumba, Kahuzi-Biega,
Salonga and Virunga National Parks, and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. The civil war and resultant
poor economic conditions have endangered much of this biodiversity. Many park wardens were
either killed or could not afford to continue their work. All five sites are listed by UNESCO as World
Heritage In Danger. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most biodiverse African country.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is also home to some cryptids, such as Mokele mbembe
Over the past century or so, the DRC has developed into the center of what has been called the
Central African “bushmeat” problem, which is regarded by many as a major environmental,
as well as, socio-economic crisis. “Bushmeat” is another word for the meat of wild animals.
It is typically obtained through trapping, usually with wire snares, or otherwise with shotguns,
poisoned arrows or arms originally intended for use in the DRC’s numerous military conflicts.
The “bushmeat crisis” has emerged in the DRC mainly as a result of the poor living conditions
of the Congolese people and a lack of education about the dangers of eating it.
A rising population combined with deplorable economic conditions has forced many Congolese
to become dependent on bushmeat, either as a means of acquiring income (hunting the meat
and selling), or are dependent on it for food. Unemployment and urbanization throughout
Central Africa have exacerbated the problem further by turning cities like the urban sprawl
of Kinshasa into the prime market for commercial bushmeat.