Conkouati-Douli National Park
The Conkouati-Douli National Park a coastal national park in the Republic of the Congo. Although the Conkouati-Douli National Park was formally established in 1999; the area of this national park has been part of an active area of conservation since at least 1980. Conkouati-Douli National Park is managed by the Ministry for National Forestry Commission in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society. Conkouati-Douli National Park covers an area of 1.2 million acres and is located along the border between the Republic of Congo and Gabon.
Conkouati-Douli National Park conservation area has three zones: At the center is a protected zone, the main area of the national park, that is only legally accessible to park staff, guided paying tourists and researchers with valid permits. The second zone is an ecodevelopment zone where the people living in the zone are allowed to use natural resources in a sustainable way for subsitence and even industrial exploitation is allowed with the agreement of the government. The third zone is five kilometer buffer zone surrounding the other zones of the national park that is target for environmental education. and includes the only marine protected area in Congo.
The park is largely made up of dense forests with wetlands, floodplain forests and lagoons; however, savannahs are found in the southwest and northeast corners with the Noumbi River flowing through the national park.
Conkouati-Douli National Park is the most biodiverse park in the Republic of Congo. The Conkouati-Douli National Park is home to the Congo forests including African forest elephant, African buffalo, gorillas, leopard, Chimpanzees, bushpig, sitatunga and mandrill. Conkouati-Douli National Park has nearly 8,000 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), about 2,000 Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and some 1,000 forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis). Conkouati-Douli National Park is also a RAMSAR site because of its important migratory and wetland bird habitat. The beaches of the Conkouati-Douli National Park are amongst the most important in the world for the nesting of leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) and five other species of marine turtles. This marine national park has a group of around 50 humpback dolphins (Sousa teuzsi).