The 1st of August marked the official closure of hunting in the forest zones of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve (OWR). ICCN leadership issued a reminder to all the local communities resident in the OWR and distributed an order to abide by the established hunting schedule.
On the 22nd of August, ICCN rangers apprehended a person in Salathe, located 25 km from the Epulu Station on the road to Kisangani, with a large amount of smoked bushmeat. The meat was from a yellow-backed duiker which is a protected species, 20 blue duikers and several monkeys. The meat was destined for the market in Badengaido (about a $400 value) where people working the Muchacha mine shop for food. This is a graphic example of why closing down the gold mines is so important in controlling the bushmeat trade in the Reserve. This person was brought back to Epulu and the ICCN, to make a point in the eyes of all bystanders, burned the bushmeat to reinforce that it is illegal to kill wildlife when the OWR regulations prohibit hunting.
All local communities resident in and around the OWR are required to strictly observe the law authorizing the closure of the hunt and respect their commitment to help protect the wildlife living in the OWR.