We need to protect Upemba National Park for Nature & Future Generations

Stand-up with Congolese rangers, help them defend DRC’s natural heritage

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The Petition

This Petition will be sent to:
  1. UNESCO,
    Mechtild Rössler, Director of the Division for Heritage and UNESCO World Heritage Centre
  2. Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN),
    Dr. Cosma Wilungula, General Director of the Congolese Wildlife Authority
  3. Ministère de l’Environnement Développement Durable et Conservation de la Nature,
    S.E. Mr Athys Kabongo Kalonji, Minister of the DRC Environmental Ministry

Help Congolese Park Rangers protect Upemba National Park, save its wildlife and support local communities, by giving Upemba and its rangers the highest protection possible.

ICCN Upemba

Upemba National Park is one of the oldest national parks of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was first established in May 1939 on the basis of a Belgian royal decree with an area of ​​1.75 millions hectares because of its high value in biodiversity. It is home to some 1.800 different species, including lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and the Katanga impala which is endemic to the park. Upemba is the only national park in DRC with zebra and cheetah populations. The habitat of the park varies from grassland at higher altitudes, through forests, woodlands, to lakes and wetlands at lowest altitudes. Since 1993, its valley of the Lufira, from the fall of Kyubo to the junction with the Congo river at Kitembo, has been designated a UNESCO Biodiversity Reserve due to its a large concentration of mammals, reptiles, batrachians, birds, fish and a vast wetland.

However, Upemba National Park is confronted with many threats ranging from poaching, illegal settlements and the presence of illegal permits to mining and hydroelectric interests. While the park is lacking technical and financial resources to minimize the threats, rangers are risking their lives to save the last remaining elephant population of Katanga. Parts of Upemba have also been taken over by the Mai Mai groups– a local heavily armed group- and far better equipped than the park staff who have very little equipment or support. In December 2012, Atamato Madrandele, Chief Warden of Upemba National Park, was ambushed and killed by Mai-Mai militia. Since the assassination of Atamato, the Park has seen the poaching gain momentum.

ICCN Upemba

In October 2015 a new head of park was appointed to combat wildlife crime in Upemba and protect the various threatened species, especially elephants. The newly appointed Chief Warden of Upemba National Park is Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo, well known from his exemplary work protecting Virunga National Park against oil exploration. Since Katembo’s arrival the park has engaged in a process of restoring the state authority over the extent of the park so that the numbers of wildlife can increase significantly. Today, protecting DRC’s threatened national parks does not come without risks. National parks are continuously facing severe threats and are damaged by encroaching human activities including extractive industries –oil and mining, logging, poaching, dams and infrastructure. Rangers, as much as nature, need our help to protect these last remaining wild places for future generations and the sustainable development of the populations living around.

Petition by,
Save Upemba


Stand-Up on behalf of DRC’s Natural Heritage and endangered wildlife by supporting this petition and sharing it with others.

Remind world leaders that Congolese rangers need our help when protecting the integrity of protected areas against habitat and biodiversity loss. Rangers put themselves at great personal risk to protect environment for future generations.

Upemba National Park should be recognized for its “Outstanding Universal Values” for humanity; its has exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance, and represents major stages of earth’s history with the Upemba Depression, it contains important natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including many threatened species, such as the Katanga Impala, the last remaining cheetahs of DRC and elephant population in Katanga, native trees and many others.

Preserving Upemba’s “Outstanding Universal Value” against threats and supporting the work of its rangers will not only benefit biodiversity conservation, but is also important for the benefits that its ecosystems provide to global and local communities both for the present generation, and in the long term for generations to come.

Help the DRC government protect its natural heritage by signing the petition in support of Upemba’s nomination to become a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Democratic Republic of Congo adds an exceptional new Site to the Ramsar List Uncategorized

The Democratic Republic of Congo has designated Bassin de la Lufira (the Lufira river basin) as its fourth Wetland of International Importance. With the addition of this vast and exceptional wetland area, the country joins a select group of Ramsar Contracting Parties – Bolivia, Canada, Chad, Congo and the Russian Federation – with over 100,000 square kilometres under Ramsar protection.

The Site (Ramsar Site no. 2318), in the south-east of the country, consists of rivers and their floodplains, natural and artificial lakes and ponds, waterfalls, papyrus and other marshes, and marshy forests. The main river feeding it is the Lufira.

The prevailing soil and climatic factors ensure the maintenance of the Site’s unique biological diversity. Many endemic species are present: 16 bird species including the Lufira masked weaver, the Upemba masked weaver and the black-faced waxbill; 15 reptile species including the Upemba mud turtle, the lined water snake and the Mulanje water snake; and at least two endemic amphibians, the Katanga thick-toed gecko and the frog Afrixalus upembae. The Lufira Basin remains the only biotope for rare mammals such as the Grant’s zebra and the greater kudu, and it is also home to populations of giant sable and roan antelope.

The lack of control and regulation of mining activities and the related hydrometallurgical treatment plants presents a real threat to the Site. Its designation was completed thanks to the financial and technical support of WWF-International.

More at: Ramsar

Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa Uncategorized

Congolese park ranger risks life to protect DRC’s threatened national parks, Rodrigue Katembo has been awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa for exposing illegal oil exploration in Virunga National Park.

(c) The Goldman Environmental Prize


Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo appointed Chief Warden of Upemba NP Uncategorized
ICCN Upemba

Katembo is well known from his exemplary work protecting Virunga National Park against oil exploration.

Congo Ranger ambushed and killed defending wildlife Uncategorized

Atamato Madrandele, Chief Warden of Upemba National Park, was ambushed and killed December 16, 2012 by Mai Mai militia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, reports the Upemba Conservation Project.


Tourism at the Kiubo Falls Uncategorized

The Kiubo Falls, on River Lufira on its way towards Lac Upemba and further on to River Lualaba, just beside the village of Musabira in the middle of Katanga, is a wonderful spot on Earth.

Creation of Upemba National Park Uncategorized

Upemba National Park was first established in 1939. As with much of the wildlife of the region, in contemporary times the park continues to be threatened by the activities of poachers, pollution, and the activities of refugees and militia.[1]


1 Supporters Already.

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  • Titus Glavee

    Retweet for more signatures to save Upemba and it’s beautiful scenery, including giving maximum protection to park rangers who put their lives on the line to protect our beautiful parks for posterity.

  • Marie-Emmanuelle MOKWAPI

    Nature has been for sale for far too long. Once the very last natural realms and sanctuaries’ resources are drained, there will remain so few of us, every teardrop collected won’t suffice to grow Nature back. A ranger stands as a shield for us all, we must take a stand for her/him.

  • georgie

    Yes, we need to SUPPORT BRAVE Rangers……….that protects our Creator’s trees, land, and animals………from greedy killers and polluters………who only interest is to raped and gut this Earth for money…..which is a phoney baloney piece of paper THAT HUMANS PRINTED UP. I belong to African Wildlife foundation and they have Troops also. Wonder if they do conservation work here in Congo.

  • Eric Johnson

    This is a natural extension of the virunga.org model to make DRC parks the catalyst for a more stable and prosperous region. Support Rodrigue and his team!

  • Carl S. Bjurstedt

    A NP manager myself, I live and work in a totally different world than Rodrigue Katembo. My deepest admiration for Katambo and his kollegaues!

  • Liliana Jauregui

    we need to be united and bring the message out to the world. You are all brave people!

  • Uroš Rok Drnovšek

    Protect the rangers from criminal gangs!

  • Mike Dooley

    We have a duty to protect the World few remaining wild spaces, and to support those who work there tirelessly to preserve the wildlife.

  • Robert J. Burrowes

    Life on Earth is dying. It is time to defend the natural wonder of this planet before it is gone forever.

  • Katherine Brenchley

    Natural Africa is disappearing to poachers, land grabbers and trophy hunters. We must save it.

  • Jessica B

    Wildlife protection is our duty


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