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Improving the Protection & Management of Lésio-Louna Reserve through increased monitoring against illegal activities combined with development of existing eco-tourism product

Terrestrial protected area
Management effectiveness Livelihoods
Local communities
Eco-tourism Survey/Data knowledge management Monitoring/Patrol equipment
94,488.26 EUR ; Central Africa November 1, 2020 - October 31, 2021

Protected and conserved area(s) concerned

Lésio-Louna Reserve, 99862

Diagnostic tool used

RAPPAM evaluation; Parcs and reserves of Congo; Protected area management effectiveness evaluation

The BIOPAMA AC objective(s) addressed

  • Enhance the management and governance of priority protected areas by addressing existing limitations
  • Support local communities’ initiatives aiming to enhance the livelihoods of local people whilst effectively contributing to protected areas management.

Priority need addressed

The project addresses two priority needs for the Lésio-Louna Reserve:

  • To protect the gorillas and the ecosystem of the reserve by strengthening the operational capacity of field staff and eco-guards in their duties against poaching and illegal actions.
  • To promote and develop eco-tourism by improving the performance and services of the ecotourism infrastructure.

Project activities

The operational capacity of field staff and eco-guards will be strengthened by:

  • The purchase of a car that will support a significant increase in the coverage of reserve by motorized patrols to an average 2000 ha / month.
  • The purchase of 10 additional camera traps to be deployed in selected areas of the reserve.
  • The purchase of 3 smartphones, and 3 GPS devices to be used on patrols
  • The purchase of 2 laptops, and an A3 printer to be used for data analysis and reports as well as 3 external hard drives for backup and data storage.
  • Training for 12 field staff in the use of the SMART system.
  • Training for 15 eco-guards and field staff in the use of the equipment and also data collection using the SMART system.
  • Additional training for 15 eco-guards and field staff in bio-monitoring, including the use of camera traps.

The improvement in the performance and services of the ecotourism infrastructure will be achieved by:

  • The purchase and installation of all the equipment required to renovate the solar energy system at the Iboubikro eco-tourism site.
  • The purchase of an outboard motor to improve access to the eco-tourism site via the Lefini river.

The change the project implementation will bring for the protected area(s)

The ability to conduct motorized patrols will enable eco-guards to regularly undertake missions covering a wider area of the reserve, and the development of field staff to using the SMART system will enable the project results to be verified and analysed on a larger scale whilst maintaining a high level of detail and accuracy. The capacity for data collection is also increased with the camera traps. These changes will significantly impact on the level of protection for the reserve and will result in an increase in the number of arrests and interruptions of illegal activities. The enhanced data collection will also increase knowledge of the range of species within the protected area.

The improvements to the eco-tourism infrastructure will enhance the visitor experience.  The installation of the new solar energy system will reduce noise and pollution by an estimated 83% compared to the existing system and, together with the improved access via the Lefini river, it should lead to an increase in visitor numbers. There are 23 villages surrounding the Lésio-Louna Reserve, with over 17,000 residents, who could ultimately benefit as tourism revenue is used to support local communities and contribute to financing the protected area.

Download the project infofiche.

Implementing organisations

The Aspinall Foundation

Photo credits: Laingoniaina Rakotonirina; TAF Congo; Matthieu Bonnet

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