Screaming, screeching and roaring are the sounds which will fill your ears when you make a trip down the Congo Basin. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a hugely blessed country that is rich in flora and fauna.
There aren’t many places if any in the world where you can find giant creatures mingling and stray in shadowy paths in sun filled clearings other than in the Congo. Congo supports the world’s second largest tropical rainforest after the Amazon of South America which measures a staggering 234,484,800 hectares. The Congo rainforest contains great biodiversity including many rare and endemic species and native flora.
Exploring the great rainforest is made easy by visiting the many reserved areas and parks which are right in the Congo rainforest. There are five parks in the Congo rainforest which have been listed as World Heritage sites by UNESCO where you can start off your adventure. These are Salonga National Park, Virunga National Park, Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Garumba National Park and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve.
Congo ecological paradise doesn’t make the news as often as it should as noted by its great diversity. The Congo rainforest has 3 of the world’s 4 great apes, more than 400 fish species, 1000 bird species and 10 000 species of plants. Below, we list the most common creatures you are likely to stumble upon when you make the trek to this pristine rainforest.
Western Lowland Gorilla
This is a native Congo gorilla which lives in lowland swamps and primary and secondary rainforests. It is the only gorilla type that is capable of being kept in zoos except for the Amahoro which is found at the Antwerp Zoo. In the primate category, the western lowland gorilla ranks as the smallest subspecies but it still has a huge frame (5 ft. 11 in height weighing 250 to 270kg on average). Western lowland gorillas often live and move in groups. However, male gorillas which are not sexually active or which are yet to reach the age of sexual maturity leave the group and go for bachelorhood where they live in solitary or in a nonbreeding group. Female western lowland gorillas give birth to one offspring after a nine month pregnancy. The western lowland gorillas are herbivores hence they feed on fruit, shoots, roots, pulp, tree bark and wild celery. They are highly intelligent and great communicators too hence why they are most preferable for zoos.
The Bonobo is one of the two species which make up the genus Pan with the other being the more common chimpanzee. Bonobo was once known as the pygmy chimpanzee and is native to Congo. Unlike many other animals in the primate species, the Bonobo is omnivorous. It is distinguished from the chimpanzee by its pink lips, long legs, dark head and patted long hair on its head. Male bonobos weigh on average 60 kgs while female bonobos weigh 30kgs. They are both arboreal and terrestrial. The Bonobos are the closest to humans. They are capable of compassion, empathy, sensitivity, patience, kindness, and altruism. They are also extremely intelligent, they are capable of passing the mirror recognition test for awareness. One learned Bonobo by the name of Kanzi has a vocabulary of more than 500 English words and has a comprehension of 3000 English spoken words.
The African leopard is a carnivorous animal that is found in many countries on the African continent but in substantial numbers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The African leopard is a hunter and everything living organism is a prey to it from the lizard to the buffalo. The African leopard is smaller than the leopard but is very fast, swift and powerful. The African leopard is a loner.
These are some of the most popular creatures in the Congo rainforest. However, there are many others including the mountain gorilla, African elephant, okapi, white rhino, Masai lion and Masai giraffe.