Kahuzi Biega is a national park located in the eastern park of DRC famous for the Lowland gorillas.
The park came to its existence in 1970 when it was established by the Belgian photographer and conservationist Adrien Deschryver. The park was given a name Kahuzi Biega after its boundaries of mount Biega and mount kahuzi.
Kahuzi Biega national park is located in western province of the democratic republic of Congo in Bukavu town and it is neighboring the western bank of Lake Kivu near the Rwandan boarders. The park covers an area of 6,000 square kilo meters (2,300 sq. mi) and it is believed to be one of the largest national parks in the democratic republic of Congo. The park is established in hilly and lowland territory.it is one of the latest havens of the endangered species of lowland gorilla (Gorilla Beringei Graueri) the scarce group of gorillas under the IUCN Red List. The park is a UNESCO world heritage site, adorned in 1980 because of exceptional eastern lowland gorillas.
The park obtains an average yearly rain of 1,800 millimeters and the highest temperature verified in the area is 18 °C (64 °F) while the lowest is 10.4 °C (50.7 °F)
The governor general of the Belgian colonial administration formed the forest reserve of mount kahuzi on 27th July 1937 and the reserve was part of the Kahuzi-Biega national park ever since November 1970.because of its unique terrain of rain forest and diversity of the mammal species, UNESCO World heritage site opened this park under principle(x) after the five years of its expansion to 600 km2.
Flora and fauna
This national park has got an ironic variety of flora and fauna that offers protection to over 1,178 plant species in the mountainous section of the park with other different species such as 136 species of mammals and 349 species of birds in 2003.
The park is split into two parts that are linked by a thin corridor.one is the mountainous rainforest and the lowland rainforest. The park is one of the scarcest areas that can be found in Africa, where you can find the transition between these two types of rainforest stayed largely unbroken.
The western lowland of the national park is dominated by the thick equatorial rainforest covering an area between 1200 meters (3900) to 1500 meters (4900).
The mountainous part of the park is covered mostly with forest vegetation such as swamps forest that breeds over, floods, marshes, bamboo forest, turf bog, riparian rainforest and it is one of erratic areas in the sub-Saharan Africa that reveals that reveals all the stages of lowland and highland evolution. The western lowland area of the park hence making six unique key vegetation categories which include the summit of mount Kahuzi and Beiga that covers over 2600 meters (8500 feet), bamboo forest that covers an area between 2350 meters (7710 feet) to 2600 meters (8500 feet), swamp forest that strains 2000 meters (6600ft) to 2400 meters (7900 feet) with rampant of more than 1178 species of plants, dry savannah and grassland.
The national park was established to protect eastern lowland gorillas that had started spreading in the democratic republic of Congo. Around 125 lowland gorillas were recognized with 136 different species of mammals of which are a large mammals such as elephants, forest buffalo, leopards ,chimpanzee .355 species of birds,69 species of reptiles,44 amphibians and over 1171 different species of plants.
The number of the eastern lowland gorillas has reduced in the last decade most especially in the areas of highland altitude where data collection is being conducted. According to the census survey by wildlife conservation society in April 2011, about 181 gorillas have been confirmed to be in the national park.
Gorilla families in Kahuzi-Biega National Park Congo DRC
Kahuzi Biega National Park always remained open for tourism and never experienced the political instability which affected the North Kivu region of Congo (and particularly Virunga). The park offers among the best experiences of gorilla trekking (the low-land gorillas only) and only the bad image of Congo as a whole contributed to discourage tourism to Kahuzi Biega. However, we must encourage tourism in Kahuzi Biega because the park is safe and because tourism will always help the conservation of the low-land gorillas. In 2013 there are a total of nine gorilla families in the park, of which two gorillas families are open for tourism, Chimanuka (with 37 members, 19 baby gorillas and 17 females with one silverback) and Mugaruka (one member only, Mugaruka). Two other families are under habituation: Mankoto and Mpungwe families. In 2011 the total estimated number of low land gorillas was 140 individuals. In 1992 the park was counting 25 gorilla families and a total of 284 gorillas, but later on the instability of the country at the end of the Ninetieth also affected the park; fortunately, the recent years of instability elsewhere in Congo are not affecting again Kahuzi Biega.