As part of a commitment to provide training to the employees of ICCN and OCP, OCP supported a motor vehicle training course for the two drivers of vehicles in the OWR, Jeannot ACHEKENI and Aimé KIRUZI, at the Kivu-Motor garage in Goma which specializes in brand-name vehicles TOYOTA LAND CRUISER and HILUX VIGO, which are the types of vehicles used in the OWR. This training covered a period of two months (May and June 2017).
Presently, ICCN has six (6) vehicles + one IVECO truck and seventeen (17) Yamaha AG type 100 motorcycles, OCP has seventeen (17) motorcycles and two (2) Toyota Hilux Vigo vehicles, hence the importance of having a substantial expertise within the Epulu Station for the necessary maintenance of these machines in order not only to support the implementation of the field protection activities in the Reserve, but also to transport supplies, equipment, food rations and personnel to the Station from business centers located 300 km from Epulu and around the Reserve.
After this training, the drivers are able to detect the cause of breakdowns, order parts and repair the vehicles and motorcycles. When they returned to Epulu they were able to rehabilitate the ICCN Hilux, which had a history of suspension problems. The Land Cruiser used by the Anti Poaching Unit 1 has had an electrical problem for years and has sat idle for many months, and the newly trained drivers are in the process of repairing it to be used for important antipoaching work this month.
Due to the difficult conditions of the roads (or even lack of roads), vehicles and motorcycles have to be well-maintained and repaired quickly to allow the regular movement of ICCN rangers and OCP educators around the Reserve. Protecting okapi and its habitat requires the movement of large numbers of people and supplies on a daily basis over an area the size of North Carolina, and providing the opportunity for staff to increase their knowledge provides quick responses to correct any problems with the vehicles while driving on the challenging jungle roads.