WHAT CAN I DO AT UPEMBA NATIONAL PARK -CONGO
Upemba National Park is among Africa’s oldest national parks, located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Upemba National Park was first established in 1939 under a Belgian royal decree and occupies over 1.75 million hectares due to its high biodiversity. Upemba National Park protects approximately 1,800 different species, including leopards, lions, elephants, buffalo, and the Katanga impala, which is endemic to the park. Upemba National Park is the only national park in the DRC with the highest population of zebra and cheetah. Upemba National Park also accommodates an array of other habitats that vary from grassland within the higher altitudes to woodlands, forests, lakes, and wetlands in the lower altitudes.
Upemba National Park is facing many threats that range from illegal settlements to poaching, illegal miners, and hydroelectric interests. While Upemba National Park lacks the technical and financial support to minimize all those threats, the park’s rangers risk their lives in order to save the last elephant population remaining in Katanga. Some Parts of Upemba National Park have already been taken over by the Mai Mai groups, which are a locally heavily armed group of people.
In October 2015, they appointed a new park head who is responsible for combating wildlife crime in Upemba national park and protecting all the various threatened species within the park, especially the elephants. Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo is the newly appointed Chief Warden of Upemba National Park and is famous for his exemplary work when he was protecting Virunga National Park against oil exploration. Ever since Mr. Katembo arrived at Upemba National Park, there has been a process of restoration within the state authority.