Conservation and Research Station
The Okapi Breeding and Research Station, near the village of Epulu in the northeastern area of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is the Okapi Wildlife Reserve headquarters for the Institute in Congo for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) and serves as a base of operations for Okapi Conservation Project (OCP) staff. It is from the Station that the staff manages the 13,700 square kilometer Okapi Wildlife Reserve. Support from OCP and its partners provides the infrastructure for the Station and food, housing, clothing, clinical facilities, and schools for the employees and families of OCP and ICCN. In all, some 2,500 residents of the area benefit from this support.
Radiating out from Epulu, researchers monitor the forest and collect valuable data. Anti-poaching patrols are trained and outfitted. Education staff prepares materials and travel throughout the Reserve to empower the local people with knowledge and to instill pride in the natural treasures and biodiversity of their country.
At the Epulu Station, the conservation breeding program works to protect the future of the okapi by serving as a reservoir for the infusion of new genetic stock into the okapi populations in global conservation programs around the world. Many of the international institutions working with the okapi program continue to make substantial monetary contributions to support the protection of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve.
As stability has returned to the country in the wake of six years of civil war, eco-tourism, which was a valuable source of revenue for the Research Station, may once again be possible. Guest houses and bungalows situated on the bank of the Epulu River have been rebuilt. Renowned filmmaker Alan Root described this site on the Epulu River as “one of the most beautiful places in all of Africa.”