The early success of Tayna Nature Reserve, which includes 90,025 hectares of protected land, bodes well for the future of the Maiko-Tayna Kahuzi-Biega Landscape in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tayna is one of eight community-based reserves in various stages of planning and development that, collectively, will create a vast biodiversity corridor flanked by two national parks.
This 5 million-hectare landscape extends throughout the range of the Endangered Grauer’s, or eastern lowland, gorilla. At the Tayna reserve, researchers have not only documented previously unidentified gorilla groups, but also noted an almost complete eradication of hunting snares and mining operations.
With funding from the Global Conservation Fund (GCF), the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International
is supporting the creation and protection of this collective of community reserves organized as the Union of Associations for Gorilla Conservation and Community Development. The United States Agency for International Development’s Central African Regional Program for the Environment also supports the project through CI’s Central Africa Program.
These organizations are working with Congolese communities whose traditional leaders initiated this grassroots community reserve effort. GCF also supports improved management of Maiko National Park and collaboration between the park staff and community reserve managers.
Local communities are already benefiting from improved health care, education and economic development programs established around gorilla habitat. Education and jobs based on conservation are crucial to sustaining this project. The Tayna Center for Conservation Biology
, a new university at the heart of the landscape, was an early outgrowth of this community reserve movement.
GCF is working with stakeholders to develop long-term financing for the reserves and build the capacity of local communities to attract and manage additional international development assistance.