WCS Congo

Lac Télé Community Reserve

Created in 2001, Lac Télé Community Reserve covers an area of 4,400 km2, making it the fourth largest protected area in Congo, and takes its name from the ellipsoidal lake found at the centre of the swamp forest in the northern half of the reserve. Lac Télé Community Reserve is situated in the north of Congo, and lies between the Sangha and Oubangui rivers, 85 km west of the town of Impfondo. Lac Télé contains an undisturbed and unique wetland ecosystem containing flooded forest and one of the highest densities of western lowland gorillas in the region.

The area is part of a larger Ndoki-Likouala landscape management program supported by WCS which also includes the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park and the surrounding buffer zones of logging concessions. The goal of the WCS Lac Télé Community Reserve project is to conserve the ecological character and biological diversity of the reserve and to develop sustainable use of the reserve's natural resources in collaboration with local communities. Activities in the first few years focused on establishing baseline biological and socio-economic information for this poorly known wetland, enabling management staff to determine priorities for the conservation of the zone.

 The LTCR is also a part of the Lac Télé Lac Tumba CBFP Landscape, that encompasses the Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo.

Conservation Challenges

Twenty-seven villages are located in or around the Lac Télé Community Reserve . The villagers depend heavily on its natural resources for fish, agriculture, construction materials, canoes, and medicines.As the main stakeholders in this conservation effort, they play an important role in managing the natural resources of the reserve. Around 17,000 people live in and around Lac Télé Community Reserve, although population density is relatively low compared to many other regions and protected areas in the Congo Basin. The Likouala region is well-known for its strong traditional institutions in which community work is both valued and practiced. Traditional territorial limits and land tenure rights are well established in the region and generally respected. However, in the absence of a regular conservation presence, previously held values regarding the existence of quotas for the offtake of fish and wildlife had been allowed to lapse.

 

Conservation Approach

The Lac Télé Community Reserve is home to a high diversity of animals, including fish, reptiles, mammals, and birds.In the first systematic surveys of the Likouala region, high gorilla densities were recorded in the swamps, and subsequent surveys have reported amongst the highest gorilla densities recorded for the Republic of Congo. 48 large mammal species, including 14 threatened species are known from the Lac Télé Community Reserve; the bats and other small mammals remain to be studied.  

Finally, Lac Télé Community Reserve supports all three crocodiles known from Central Africa including the slender-snouted Crocodylus cataphractus and dwarf crocodile Osteolaemus tetraspis, which may be amongst the most threatened crocodiles in the world. Local people also claim that a fourth species is found in the south of the reserve. The reserve north of the Likouala-aux-Herbes river is characterized by a vast area of swamp forest with seasonally flooded grassland savanna along the rivers. The southern part of the reserve contains predominantly savanna and seasonally flooded forest. An ‘island’ of terra firma lies at the heart of the reserve and is a key area for gorillas.

 

Threats

Twenty-seven villages are located in or around the Lac Télé Community Reserve . The villagers depend heavily on its natural resources for fish, agriculture, construction materials, canoes, and medicines.

As the main stakeholders in this conservation effort, they play an important role in managing the natural resources of the reserve. Around 17,000 people live in and around Lac Télé Community Reserve, although population density is relatively low compared to many other regions and protected areas in the Congo Basin.

The Likouala region is well-known for its strong traditional institutions in which community work is both valued and practiced. Traditional territorial limits and land tenure rights are well established in the region and generally respected. However, in the absence of a regular conservation presence, previously held values regarding the existence of quotas for the offtake of fish and wildlife had been allowed to lapse.

 

Accomplishments

The Lac Télé Community Reserve is home to a high diversity of animals, including fish, reptiles, mammals, and birds.

In the first systematic surveys of the Likouala region, high gorilla densities were recorded in the swamps, and subsequent surveys have reported amongst the highest gorilla densities recorded for the Republic of Congo.

48 large mammal species, including 14 threatened species are known from the Lac Télé Community Reserve; the bats and other small mammals remain to be studied.  LTCR is also the first Ramsar site to be selected in Congo, chosen for its diversity and abundance of waterbirds. In total over 360 bird species are known from the reserve.  A study of the fish species of LTCR is ongoing and it is possible that a number of endemic undescribed species may be found here.


Finally, Lac Télé Community Reserve supports all three crocodiles known from Central Africa including the slender-snouted Crocodylus cataphractus and dwarf crocodile Osteolaemus tetraspis, which may be amongst the most threatened crocodiles in the world. Local people also claim that a fourth species is found in the south of the reserve. The reserve north of the Likouala-aux-Herbes river is characterized by a vast area of swamp forest with seasonally flooded grassland savanna along the rivers. The southern part of the reserve contains predominantly savanna and seasonally flooded forest. An ‘island’ of terra firma lies at the heart of the reserve and is a key area for gorillas.

 

Key Staff

Felin Twagirashyaka
Project Director
All Lac Tele Staff >>

Contact

WCS Congo Program
B.P. 14537 Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
+(242) 05 522 6542

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