1. FFI Australia
  2. FFI US
  3. Conservation Circle

Emergency help needed as Okapi Wildlife Reserve destroyed

Posted on: 05.07.12 (Last edited) 10 July 2012

Urgent appeal launched following a murderous raid by poachers

An urgent appeal has been launched in response to the recent brutal attack on the Okapi Wildlife Reserve headquarters – the Epulu Breeding and Research Station – in the Congo Basin.

A group of armed bandits or poachers attacked and killed at least seven staff members, some with extreme and inhumane cruelty, with others taken hostage from the UNESCO World Heritage site. Many remain unaccounted for.

All park infrastructure was destroyed and the 13 okapi*, a rare forest species from the giraffe family, were slaughtered. Epulu plays a pivotal role in the future survival of the okapi and is central in managing stock for global conservation breeding programmes of the species.

Photo: Jeph Tsaramu

Photo: Jeph Tsaramu

The day after the destruction of the Epulu HQ, UNESCO met with the Director of Okapi Wildlife Reserve as well as the Director General of the country’s protected areas authority (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature), to assess the situation and define the immediate response needs.

Fauna & Flora International have joined with UNESCO, partners in the Rapid Response Facility (RRF) initiative, to call for support amongst the global community in donating funds to rebuild demolished infrastructure, replace destroyed equipment and provide urgent support to the families of murdered park staff.

Photo: Jeph Tsaramu

Photo: Jeph Tsaramu

Fauna & Flora International Deputy Chief Executive Ros Aveling has launched a call for support, asking for urgent donations. “Please support this appeal in any way you can. The conservation front line can be a lonely, challenging place and the courageous people trying to re-establish wildlife protection in the wake of this trauma will be heartened by support from around the world.”

Donate now to the emergency appeal on JustGiving.

For more information please email rrf@fauna-flora.org

* Post Script: Tuesday 10 July, 2012 Initial reports advising 13 okapi were killed in this raid have now been updated by staff in the field. We can now confirm 15 okapi were killed.

Credit: Aliyo Droma/ICCN Epulu

Credit: Aliyo Droma/ICCN Epulu

Written by
Ally Catterick

Ally worked in media management and PR for clients including comedians Eddie Izzard and Ed Byrne before becoming Publicity Manager for the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Strategy and communications for conservation organisation Greening Australia and her role as Unit and Company Publicist for production company Roving Enterprises followed, until she was introduced to FFI upon their arrival in Australia in 2008. Ally became a founding board member – until moving to the UK to become the organisation's Communications Manager. Ally is now FFI's Deputy Director of Communications and oversees all communications for FFI globally.

Other posts by Ally Catterick
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is a company limited by guarantee, incorporated in England and Wales, Registered Company Number 2677068. Registered Charity Number 1011102
Fauna & Flora International Australia (Ltd) is a company limited by guarantee, and recognised as a Charitable Institution (ABN 75 132 715 783, ACN 132715783)
Fauna & Flora International Inc. is a Not for Profit Organisation in the State of Massachusetts. It is tax exempt (EIN #04-2730954) and has 501(c) (3) status
Fauna & Flora International Singapore is a public company limited by guarantee, Registration Number 201133836K. Registered charity under the Singapore Charities Act