The stripped okapi is often described as a heal-zebra, half-giraffe, or as a hybrid of a Greek legend. That rare is the okapi, which was unknown to the western world until the turn of the 20th century.
While the okapi is about & # 39; the west has nothing to do with, its image refers to & # 39; a Democratic Republic of Congo – the only country in a world where it can be found in & # 39; a wild – graphic cigarette package, plastic waterfowl, and even the back of the cluttered Congolese French. The okapi is to the Congo which is the whole panda to China or the kangaroo to Australia.
Today only 10,000 remain.
Two American scientists made his life-mission to protect this weird framework by co-restricting the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in eastern Congo. The reserve is about the size of Yellowstone National Park, in the United States, but that's where the agreements end.
The Okapi Wildlife Reserve is one of the most dangerous places on earth to visit.
Military militia is pushing the gray roads, illegal gold and diamond mines operating near penal and electricity arresters are reefs. In & nbsp; the & nbsp; & nbsp; & 39; A region is the region at the moment that is the earliest Ebola outbreak from & # 39; a country until today.
This week, like the country's opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi as the winner of a judicial election election, the nation stands out.
It okapi & # 39; s lot, again at & # 39; new, drive on & # 39; the following places.
Welcome to Zaire
Do the "37-year-old John Lukas in Kinshasa's capital" & # 39; an end of the eighteenth century in a plane plane in & # 39; a back, the Congo was a very different place for the one that he is today.
This great people who have had two zones in two, had no way to go east to west. But under military dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, the fiery leader banned for his leopard print caps, life was relatively stable, Lukas says. After independence from Belgium in 1960, hope was gained in the air.
"Under Mobutu, everyone in the Congo would go as much as possible," he says. "You never ran out."
A Florida-based zoology graduate, Lukas had for years been major toy safaris in eastern and southern Africa, but there was one stranger he had seen in the US and longed for & # 39; to admire a knowledge.
Over the size of a horse, the okapi is a close relative of the grateful and long-haired yellow giraffes that we know today. "It's great biology," Lukas says. The okapi can be fond of the back of his neck with his 18-inch ton, and his glossy coat feels like satin. Most of the new builds of each species originate within 12 hours of birth, says Lukas, but okapis holds her first chair for 60 days, to suppose leopards hunt for a taste. An okapi can make all ears independent.
Luke was defeated.
In 1987 he arrived in Epulu – a Sunday overseas trip from Goma, a city in the east – with a group of talented conservators. In the eighteenth years, the Congo had an active Environmental Protection Ministry seriously about protecting & # 39; a natural growth of countries, and Luke & # 39; group worked with ministers to promote the national animal of the country. In 1992, the Okapi Reserve was officially recognized by the government.
Under Mobutu, this part of the Ituri rain forest was set up as a mineral reserve, to protect future prospects. As a result, it did not have much development, it offers the ideal life for the real okapi.
"Our mission from the government was … to make Epul known for the okapi, to let people out of the animal," Lukas says.
Felly Mwamba, a trader who was born and grew in Kinshasa, declares that everyone in the Congo is something okapi, most people never have one in & # 39; a real life. "Many years ago, I saw one in Kinshasa Zoo," says Mwamba. "But they are no longer there."
That all came later.
An African donkey, I like it
The West got the first whiff of the okapi in 1890 when Welsh journalist Henry Morton Stanley wound up in his book on a strange "African ass". After the greeting, Victorian missionary David Livingstone murdered the words "Dr Livingstone, I thought," in Tanganyika in 1871, the author was already known.
But Stanley's real legacy was the role it played in the European colonization of Africa.
After the British government decided to find its discovery of the Congo, Stanley was encouraged by King Leopold II of Belgium, who became poor in using Africa's wealth. With the help of forced labor, Stanley supported the reprehensible construction of roads, completely by hand, across the Congo and led Leopold the territory as a private fiefdom.
Congo was 76 times the largest of Belgium, and Leopold got rich of her eager and growing governoresses without ever standing foot.
In the Congo, from & # 39; a population, from the time that the Belgian government was controlled by Leopold in 1908, millions of Congolese died or were wounded: a particularly barbaric action saw local people who did not determine their rubber boot by their hands came out .
In the early 20th century, the roads that had built red colonies were now a tour of visitors of & # 39; the west over the territory. One of such tropical tourists was Harvard educated Patrick Putman, who moved in eastern Congo in 1933, opened a small hotel and a street pole in Epulu, where he lived with a success of American and Afro women. It was the first time okapis domiciled in Epulu.
"They were a new value for western people," says Lukas.
An extraordinary paradise
"Once you were there, there was no communication with the outside world," says Lukas. "You would write letters back home, and hopefully someone wrote them." Everything in & # 39; camp, from & # 39; a wire channel to microscopes, had to be submitted to Epulu, a village in the rain forest, but just outside the reserve.
Lukas split his time between Congo and Florida, where he doubled the dollar for the reserve and researched scientifically. With the help of NASA technical technology, its team collected data that proved it to be able to communicate with each other via interrogation types for humans. "It's very dinosaur-like," says Lukas.
But as the team's work glowed, the Congo became a shadow of a state.
The country was again rebelling.
In 1997, while Mobutu received cancer treatment in Europe, Laurent Kabila gave it to Kinshasa and took over the country. The pong divided the region.
Rwanda and Uganda sent anti-Kabila soldiers in Congo, while Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe supported the government. Millions of lives were lost, mostly from illness and hunger, and eastern infrastructure was decimated.
Kabila was murdered by his body at all times through war, and his son Joseph Kabila gained power.
When the war started in 2003, the state dropped off at local level, says Berwouts. Hospitals were stuck to death, the state was not trained. "The state doesn't just exist anymore," he says. "What the field goes to armed actors."
Grace, gold and grit
In the war years, Luke became a diplomat. "There were several rebel groups, such as the Rwandan and Ugandan armies, and the Congo government, which are fighting and invading territories in" Eastern Congo ", Lukas says. "We'll be negotiating with whoever's in control for the secure passage for our workers."
In 2003, Karl Ruf, "lamba" and "Kambale Saamile", was an emerging star in an okapi project, just as successful with the neo-warrior Jean-Pierre Bemba. On the bicycle house of the successful meeting, an outside control bus with its car could be on a mountain path.
"In one blow we left our three top people," Lukas says. Karl's wife Rosmarie was in Switzerland. "It was a disaster," she says. Rosmarie decided to take her legacy and limit the reservation. "I knew I couldn't stop it," she says. "My husband would not be glad if I left and trained the Congo."
More problems were ahead.
As states of flight flew, the people of Congo had a tree. There are about 80 million people in the country, but the last census is in 1986. Today the number is much higher. Ruf says that people began to start further in a reserve, both to learn slash and burning agriculture, to plow or mine, to get under threat.
The government worked ranger to protect the area, and Lukas set their salary of $ 43 a month with bonuses for each collected strings or full patrol.
Jean Paul Monga, 40, has been a ranger on 2001 reserve since 2001. Ten years ago he says, because rangers can have small groups of four or five puppies. "Today, your gangs will hunt 30 or 40 people in a reserve," he says. "They're determined, they want to get elbows, and if you come over, they will open fire."
Closing mines and pounds, however, is a delicate matter in an enlarged country where employment opportunities do not exist practically.
In 2012, the Okapi Wildlife Reserve received its worst attack, when armed rebels stormed the Epulu station. All 14 okapi residents died on the basis of death, buildings were killed and 100 people were dropped, men were used as portraits, women were taken as women.
The rebels think the reserve was complete, says Rosmarie, but her team remained.
"The beautiful places are now full of armed groups that live outside state control and only have it for food," says Berwouts.
Okapis have not been preserved since the island of Epulu.
On December 30, 2018, Congo went to the pollen. The national constitution supports a two-term presidency, and has been overwhelmed for two years, Kabila eventually becoming the way of democracy. It was set up to become the first rich democratic transfer of power.
Lukas and Ruf are respectively waiting from Florida's and Switzerland's drama. It was an important moment for the Congo. And it went right.
"Kabila is very clever and he knows how to work the system," Lukas says. "He wants to walk again in 2023, and he wanted to keep the party in check."
Luke has decided to keep the line, waiting for a rally in Congo 's fortunes that has proved to be a disaster as the okapi.
He plotted to expand his project to the Maiko National Park to the south, where & # 39; rebels over the retention of & # 39; winning storage. "It is a spectacular place with bongo antelope, okapis and gorillas," he says. "No one can go there, it needs our help. I have not left much time, I will earn every moment to make a difference."
In & # 39; noon, the 50 o'clock that okapis decorates so funny is now so blameless in & # 39; the conception of Congo & # 39; s being out & # 39; The area is.