Bili Forest

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The Bili Forest is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa in the Bas-Uele District. It lies between the Ubangui River to the north and the Uele River to the south, and is named after the small nearby town of Bili (coordinates 4°9'N 25°10'E) which is about 200 km east of Bondo and 250 km north of Buta.[1] Bondo and Bili are accessible only by earth tracks impassable after rain (the Vicicongo narrow gauge railway which served the region is defunct). The region is very unstable and virtually lawless, due to a lack of governmental services as the country recovers slowly from civil warfare. Human encroachment into the region, other than annual burning of the savannahs, is minimal but hunting is prevalent.

The forest comprises a complex mosaic habitat, consisting of savannah, savannah-woodland, regenerating forest and gallery forest. The area is rich in African fauna typifying both savannah and forest habitats, including: elephants, lions, hyenas, leopards, giant forest hogs, giant pangolin, baboons, grey-cheeked mangabeys, red-tailed guenons, and buffalo.

In addition, a population of great apes living in the Bili Forest has intrigued experts. Known as the 'Bili apes' or 'Bondo mystery apes', they appear to blend characteristics of chimpanzees and gorillas. Initial results from mitochondrial DNA analysis indicate that they are chimpanzees.

There is a very serious problem of bush meat poaching in the Bili Forest, affecting the elephant and chimpanzee populations. If the forest's chimpanzees and their habitat are to be protected effectively, a serious conservation project is imperative.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Michelin Motoring and Tourist Map: "Africa Central and South". Michelin Travel Publications, Paris, 2000.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 4°09′N 25°10′E / 4.150°N 25.167°E / 4.150; 25.167