Mikongo Conservation Centre
This ecotourism centre was a project run by ZSL as part of its Africa Conservation Programme.
ZSL worked in Gabon from 2001 to 2009 at the Mikongo Conservation Centre (MCC), in the north-east of Lopé National Park. MCC was created in 1999 under a European Union project to develop a low-impact, high-revenue ecotourism site which would generate income for both park management and local community development. To help achieve this goal, a gorilla habituation programme was started - to try and develop tourism on a similar model to successful mountain gorilla based ecotourism projects in Rwanda and Uganda. In 2005, when the EU project finished, ZSL assumed overall management of MCC, continuing tourism and gorilla habituation while developing research, education and community outreach activities:
In the 5 years up to 2010 approximately 1,000 tourists visited MCC, making it a key pilot site for ecotourism in Gabon national parks. ZSL provided training to park ecoguides and ecoguards, as well as offering technical and logistical support to village associations as they develop community-based tourism.
ZSLs researchers and trackers spent thousands of hours tracking gorillas in the forest as part of the habituation process and carrying out important research on local wildlife populations and mitigating the threats they face.
Our health programme seeks to address issues at the human - wildlife interface. We carry out faecal parasite screening of local gorilla populations and MCC staff to gain an insight into parasite prevalence and risk of disease transmission between people wildlife.
We also assisted local medical authorities to raise awareness of health issues and provided preventative medical care in villages to improve public health and minimise the risks of disease transmission from and to wildlife.
Find out more by downloading our infosheet Mikongo Conservation Centre (3.7 MB)