WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 5, 2014) – In a ceremony timed with the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Republic of Congo signed a Public-Private Partnership agreement on management of the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park. This document officially establishes the Ndoki Foundation which will have management authority over the Park.

John Robinson, WCS Executive Vice President for Conservation and Science issued the following statement:
“On behalf of the Wildlife Conservation Society, I thank the Republic of Congo, President Denis Sassou Nguesso and Minister Henri Djombo for their vision in developing public-private partnerships for the management of its National Parks. With today’s agreement, the government affirms that the conservation of nature contributes to economic development, and to a sustainable future for the Republic of Congo, its people, and its natural heritage.

“WCS is proud to be co-stewards of Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park along with the government. This public-private partnership is a true collaboration, with a board whose membership is made up of the government, conservation partners, and local communities.

“Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park is one of the world’s most pristine natural areas and a hotbed of biodiversity. This is one of most important remaining strongholds for gorillas and forest elephants in Central Africa. We must do everything possible to ensure sound management and protection of these invaluable resources.

“WCS has a long history of conservation in the Republic of Congo. Our involvement dates back to the 1980s and we have had a full time presence since 1990. For the past 20 years, we have been assisting the Congo Government in managing wildlife and its habitat in national parks, reserves, and buffer zones. The program focuses on increasing protection and management efforts through on the ground research, capacity building and developing strong law enforcement systems.

“In 1991, WCS signed an agreement with the Congolese Government to provide technical advice on the creation and management of the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park. WCS has helped the government to manage the Conkouati-Douli National Park since 2000. We helped to develop a tourism program, a marine monitoring program, and helped put in place extensive protection efforts that have since resulted in rebounding wildlife populations. Inspired in part by WCS surveys, in 2012, the Congolese Government established the Ntokou-Pikounda National Park, a vast park in the heart of Congo which now protects an estimated 15,000 gorillas. We are now working with the government to realize the creation of a new national park in the Batéké plateau area in southwestern Congo, as well as providing technical advice on the management of the peripheral zone of the Odzala-Kokoua National Park.

“Today, this agreement signifies the productive partnership between WCS and the Republic of Congo as we take another critical step toward the conservation of Congo’s wildlife and its natural habitat.”

Chip Weiskotten, 202-624-8172; cweiskotten@wcs.org
Mary Dixon, 347-840-1242; mdixon@wcs.org
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org; facebook.com/TheWCS; youtube.com/user/WCSMedia; follow: @theWCS.