Okapi Conservation Project

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Okapi Conservation Project Logo.jpg
Founded 1987
Founder John Lukas
Type Non-profit Organization
Focus Okapi Conservation
Area served
Ituri Forest
Website okapiconservation.org/

The Okapi Conservation Project OCP was founded in 1987 for the protection of the okapis (Okapia johnstoni) and their habitat. The okapi are only found in the Democratic Republic of Congo[1] and are seen as the major flagship species of the Ituri Forest.[2] The OCP has about one hundred staff members and one hundred and ten government rangers under the direction of the Institute in Congo for the Conservation of Nature. The Okapi Conservation Project is partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Network[3] OCP's founder John Lukas is also a founding member of the Wildlife Conservation Network.[4] In 1992 the project helped create the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, encompassing 13,700 square kilometers of the Ituri Forest and in 1996, it was designated as a United Nations World Heritage Site.[5]

2012 Attack[edit]

In June 2012 the headquarters for the Okapi Wildlife Reserve was taken over by poachers, intent on retaliating against the staff who had been stopping their elephant poaching and mining operations. Six guards and other staff as well as 13 okapi were killed in the incident. The local village was looted, women were raped and the conservation center was burned down.[6]


Okapi Wildlife Reserve[edit]

The Okapi Wildlife Reserve an area 13,700 square kilometers, about one fifth of the Ituri Forest was created with the help of the Okapi Wildlife Project in 1992. The project continues to support the reserve by training and equipping wildlife guards and by providing assistance to improve the lives of neighboring communities.[7] The Okapi Wildlife Reserve was added to the list of world heritage sites in 1996 and since 1997 it has been listed as a world heritage site in danger.[8]


The program provides farmers with resources to make their farmland more productive, thus decreasing the need for forest land.[9] The program also works to reforest unused areas.[10]

Conservation Education and Community Assistance[edit]

OCP offers an education team that travels throughout the Okapi Wildlife Reserve providing workshops, lectures and presentations on the importance of biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of forest resources. The team also distributes education materials to all of the twenty-three schools in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. They also assist in school construction.[11]

Other Projects[edit]

Other projects include finding alternatives to hunting bush meat such as raising tilapia and Cane Rats. Another activity is providing air surveillance and wildlife guard response to stop illegal activities in the reserve.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Okapi Conservation Project". Wildlife Conservation Network. 
  2. ^ "Okapi Conservation Project". African Conservation Foundation. 
  3. ^ "Okapi Conservation Project". Wildlife Conservation Network. 
  4. ^ "WCN Board of Directors". Wildlife Conservation Network. 
  5. ^ "Okapi Conservation Project". Wildlife Conservation Network. 
  6. ^ "Tragic Losses in the Heart of Darkness". Huffington Post. 
  7. ^ "Okapi Conservation Project". Wildlife Conservation Network. 
  8. ^ "Poachers Attack Okapi Wildlife Reserve". Wall Street Journal Market Watch. 
  9. ^ "Okapi Conservation Project". Wildlife Conservation Network. 
  10. ^ "The Okapi Conservation Project". Houston Zoo. 
  11. ^ "Okapi Conservation Project". Wildlife Conservation Network. 
  12. ^ "Okapi Conservation Project". Wildlife Conservation Network. 

External links[edit]