The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country of great biodiversity. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the greatest mass of tropical rain forest in all of Africa. The 100 million hectares of tropical forest are home to 450 species of mammals, 1,150 species of birds, 300 species of reptiles, and 200 species of amphibians.
The forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have become a refuge for several endangered species that have become all but extinct in other African countries due to deforestation. The Eastern Lowland Gorilla
can only be found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo- there are only 4,000 left in the wild and 24 in zoos around the world. Most live with in the boundaries of the Virunga National Park. Eastern Lowland Gorilla is the largest subspecies of gorilla and the largest primate in the world; Male Eastern Lowland Gorillas in the wild have been measured at 550 pounds and 6.6 feet when fully erect.
Two different species of chimpanzees
live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo- the common chimpanzee and the bonobo. The bonobo can not be found in the wild anywhere else in the world. Both species are highly endangered. Bonobos only live in the region south of the Congo River and North of the Kasai River. The chimpanzee and the bonobo are the closest primate relation to the human; many groups are working to conserve their habitats and protect the wild populations.
There are several other interesting animals that are native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. One species is the African Forest Elephant. Once thought to be a sub-species of the African Savanna Elephant scientists have now discovered that the African Forest Elephant is a separate species. The population of the African Forest Elephant has reached critical levels due to ivory poaching. The okapi is an interesting mammal that lives in the northeast region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The markings of the okapi are similar to a zebra but they are actually closely related to the giraffe
. They have bodies that are similar to giraffes but with much shorter necks. There are an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 okapi left in the wild.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the perfect habitats to be home to many different species of animals; there are few other places in the world that are as biodiverse. Many endagered animals live there but are threatened by deforestation- conservation efforts are on going.