WCS Congo

Odzala Buffer Zone

The Project for Ecosystem Management in the Odzala-Kokoua Eastern periphery area, or PROGEP-PNOK, also called the Buffer Zone project, is a partnership between the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Government of Congo, the logging company, Industrielle Forestiere de Ouesso (IFO), and local communities.

Initiated to protect the Odzala-Kokoua National Park from increased demographic and hunting pressures associated with logging, the national road improvement, and large scale oil palm plantation, the project enforces Congo hunting laws that protect endangered species. Unlike conservation of most protected areas, PROGEP-PNOK’s goal is not to reduce hunting to zero, but rather to establish management systems that assure sustainable harvest of legally hunted species so that indigenous people have access to meat now and in the future.


Conservation Challenges

The principal settlement in the concession adjacent to the Odzala-Kokoua National Park is at Ngombe. However, there are 103 villages in the concession along with the presence of a national road that connects to Ouesso, the capital of the Sangha region. Due to a large human population and their movements along the Sangha river and the national road, IFO has been facing difficult challenges, notably large amounts of bushmeat hunting and trade and the illegal ivory trade.


Conservation Approach

PROGEP-PNOK’s goal is not to reduce hunting to zero.  Rather, the idea is to establish management systems that assure sustainable harvest of legally hunted species so that indigenous people have access to bushmeat now and in the future. PROGEP-PNOP has adopted a four-pronged strategy to protect biodiversity and manage wildlife in logging concessions. 

First, we collaborate with the government of Congo to enforce existing Congo wildlife laws, with the goal of protecting biodiversity and endangered species and keeping hunting at sustainable levels. Also, we encourage a controlled hunting system undertaken by IFO's workers.  Second, we work with communities to help them manage their own wildlife resources and provide them with information on ecology and conservation.  Our education team continues conservation and environment awareness in the communities as well as in schools. Thirdly, we experiment with alternative activities to hunting to provide protein sources and alternative sources of income to local people. This is an on-going project, in collaboration with a local NGO, APETDS. Finally, we monitor the effects of logging on wildlife populations and biodiversity. This is accomplished through the use of research methods to quantify bushmeat availability and consumption, wildlife populations, biodiversity, and ecological processes critical to forest regeneration.  Monitoring results guide management decisions and aid in the formation of regional and national policy.



WCS Congo Program
B.P. 14537 Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
+(242) 05 722 7411

Key Staff

Tomoaki Nishihara
Senior Technical Advisor for Protection and Operations in Northern Congo
Richard Malonga
Project Director
All Odzala Buffer Zone Staff >>

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