Deep in the beautiful but lawless forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a notorious poacher known as Morgan has threatened the safety of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, its staff, and local people for years. In June 2012, an attack by Morgan and his armies on the Reserve, the headquarters of the country’s wildlife authority, and the nearby village of Epulu killed six people and fourteen ambassador okapi. The vicious slaughter was intended to serve as a retaliation against crackdowns on elephant poaching and illegal gold mining.
Now, Morgan has been killed by Congolese army soldiers and, according to news agency Reuters, the majority of his followers are under guard in a nearby village. It is still unclear exactly what this will mean for the Reserve, but the Okapi Conservation Project hopes that there will be a brighter future in which the okapi, as well as the people who reside in the Reserve, can live peacefully in their unique African rainforest home.
Following Morgan’s attack several years ago, the Okapi Conservation Project was able to build closer ties with Epulu and the people who live in and around the Reserve by providing emergency supplies and recovery support. Just recently, they delivered new mattresses and sanitation supplies to twelve health clinics in the area. OCP will continue to support the community and work with them to find ways to live in harmony with the wildlife that surrounds them.