Founder of the P-WAC Association (Project for Wildlife and Apes Conservation) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, passionate primatologist and doctoral student in anthropology of nature, Amandine Renaud works and devotes her life to the preservation of primates, an endangered species. . Its population continues to decrease.
This young woman follows the paths traced by illustrious women such as Diane Fossey, one of the most renowned primatologists, assassinated in 1985 in Rwanda, but also Jane Goodall, British ethologist and anthropologist and Biruté Galdikas, Canadian primatologist specializing in ethology, ecology and evolution and conservation of orangutans.
This 39-year-old young woman, drawn from her childhood by the animal world, has made her profession her hobbyhorse to preserve nature and the conservation of primates.
It was after a volunteer mission in Africa that she decided to devote her life to it.
The situation of the African Great Apes is more than alarming . Gorillas, bonobos and chimpanzees, which fall into this category, may soon become extinct due to the many threats they face, such as poaching and deforestation.
It is from the authorities of Kinshasa that Amandine Renaud obtains the information concerning the places where poaching is rife: "I will save the primates and the forests ". Direction the village of Kinzao Mvuété, a remote corner of central Congo where she buys her first 100 hectares which cost her $ 6,000, all her savings.
Congo is considered the second country in the world most affected by deforestation. In 15 years, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has lost 6% of its forest cover. Peasant agriculture and the massive use of charcoal are the main causes of deforestation. But also logging on which the defenders of the environment focus.
The most difficult thing is to establish partnerships with local authorities, to reach them and involve them in the protection of forests so that they in turn find solutions to this deforestation.
The former president, Joseph Kabila, should have protected the second largest rainforest in the world and the endemic species of fauna and flora it harbors. However, he authorized a declassification of part of the national parks of Salonga (center of the country) and Virunga (north-east), classified on the UNESCO world heritage list, for oil exploitation. .
In addition, the illicit trade in industrial logging concessions denounced by the NGO Global Witness continued in a dramatic fashion despite international threats. Among others, China, which recently canceled the DRC's debt, invested considerable sums in obtaining forest titles from certain corrupt officials, and took possession of formerly American and Canadian concessions to carry out clear cuts. trees, some of which had previously been unexploited and protected. DR Congo's dependence on China stems from its strong presence in the mining sector from which cobalt and copper are extracted.
The effects of climate change are increasingly felt in Africa and particularly in the DRC. The objective is to establish the link between deforestation and the acceleration of these changes and to promote alternatives, such as butanization for example. The fact remains that the practice of shifting slash-and-burn agriculture remains and causes considerable damage to the environment and animal species.
During the second “One Planet Summit” devoted to biodiversity on January 11, 2021, the new president Félix Tshisekedi reiterated his commitment to the DRC's membership in the Alliance for the Preservation of Tropical Forests launched in New York in September 2019. A glimmer of hope followed by loan by international NGOs.
Educate and explain to raise awareness.
It is at the local level that we must raise awareness of the fate of the environment and endangered species.
Faced with government abuses, Amandine Renaud must fight against poaching and hunters, whom she tries to rally to her fight, by making them aware of the animal cause and the environment. This is why it is implementing concrete actions to preserve and safeguard monkeys and their habitat by involving the villagers.
Amandine Renaud's Ambitions are to educate village children so that they stop reproducing what the elders do and teach them to preserve rather than destroy the environment and to protect rather than kill endangered species .
When she returns to France, Amandine Renaud gives lectures for the general public and does activities for children. Hope is on the next generations.
Invaluable help from local populations
Thanks to the investment of villagers, Amandine Renaud collects monkeys victims of poaching, and others sold in the markets as pets. The adults are killed for their meat and the young torn from their mother and put in cages. The women of the village are surrogate mothers for the babies. Together, they take care of them, give them back a taste for life before confronting them with their fellows and making them evolve in the trees. Years later, they will be released.
In order to further protect these animals, Amandine Renaud plans to buy dozens of other hectares of forest to save them from fires started by peasants to have agricultural land.
Thanks to the participation of local communities, Amandine Renaud has set up a women's group to restore certain tree species and repair forests. She knows that the success of a project depends on the involvement of the inhabitants. Women, victims of poverty, are nevertheless very active in the villages. They spend a lot of time in the plantations and take care of the food preparation. Amandine Renaud will take advantage of the achievements and experiences of the women of the village to teach them how to make new plantations. It will allow them to produce food through sustainable agriculture and culture while preserving nature and endangered animals. This diversification can generate related activities such as reforestation, breeding but also green tourism while diversifying their income. This preservation of nature and animals can also be a source of income for people, in particular by obtaining positions as eco-guards or rangers.
We see once again that the initiative of one person can change and improve the ecological conditions of our world. Amandine Renaud did not wait for any authority to act.
His message: let's stop talking and take action.
His association, P-WAC is funded by donations and patrons.
She continues to fight to save what remains of chimpanzees, between 200,000 and 500,000 in the world, ten times less than at the beginning of the century.