WWF in the Republic of Congo

Elephants caught on camera trap
© victor mbolo/WWF ETIC
The Republic of Congo boasts a remarkable wildlife richness. A low population density (in particular in northern Congo) and a low road density have helped conserve precious ecosystems. The forests of northern Congo, spread over 160,000 km², are thus among the last large mammal strongholds in the Congo Basin, with important populations of great apes and still relatively strong (but declining) elephant populations. It is a priority place for the long term conservation of large mammals in the Congo Basin.

Landscape and Biodiversity

The country is of major importance for:

- Large scale continuous lowland rainforest ecosystems (northern Congo and southern Congo)
- Forest elephants
- Great apes: western lowland gorilla and chimpanzee
- Other large mammals, such as bongo, forest buffalo, leopard, hippo
- Three species of crocodile
- Birds: grey parrots, crowned eagles, etc. 

Natural Resources

Oil accounts for almost 70% of GDP, 85% of government revenue, and 90% of exports. Forests cover 60% of the country, and the forestry sector provides an estimated 11,000 direct jobs and 4% of export value. Production forests cover 135,000 km². Congo also has large agricultural potential and the palm oil sector is being developed.


TRIDOM Programme 
Forest Programme 


  • Surface: 342,000km² (similar to Finland or Malaysia)
  • Population: 4.6 million (2014 estimate)
  • Human Development Index: ranks 140 out of 187 (2013)
  • Literacy rate: 82%
  • Life expectancy: 58 years (2014)
© WWF-GHoA maps
Republic of Congo
© WWF-GHoA maps

Major threats to conservation

1. Intense ivory poaching driven by high ivory prices.
2. Increasing commercial bushmeat trade, favored by a rapidly improving road network.
3. Weak law enforcement and corruption.
4. Trade in leopard skins, grey parrots and pangolin scales.
5. Increasing logging areas, which threaten the last unprotected old growth forest ecosystems.
6. Rapid infrastructure development (roads)
7. Mining and associated infrastructure development
8. Artisanal gold mining
9. New settlements in previously uninhabited areas
10. Hydropower development in sites of high biodiversity importance. 
© victor mbolo/WWF ETIC © Mike Goldwater/WWF © victor mbolo/WWF ETIC