06/14/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/14/2021 04:42
On June 12, 2021, in the presence of the Minister of Forests and Waters, Seas and the Environment in charge of the climate and land assignment plans, Pr. Lee White, Christel Bories, CEO and Chair of Eramet, and Leod-Paul Batolo, CEO of Comilog, inaugurated the Lékédi Biodiversity Foundation in Gabon.
The preservation of biodiversity, especially around its industrial sites, is a major challenge for the Group, which put it down as one of its priority axes in its CSR roadmap.
The Lékédi Biodiversity Foundation, created jointly by Comilog (Gabonese subsidiary of the Group) and Eramet, reinforces the status of the Lékédi park which equips itself with additional means to preserve biodiversity in Gabon, to rehabilitate orphan primates and to develop scientific research.
With its 14,000 hectares, the Lékédi park remains the only protected animal park in Gabon and is home to exceptional wildlife and plants.
Throughout the years, the site's protection has allowed the local wildlife to develop, especially primates but also less common species such as bushpigs, bushbucks or African forest buffalos. The ongoing inventory confirmed the presence of about thirty gorillas and of about fifty chimpanzees. One of the park's distinctive features is the strong presence of over 500 mandrills as well as rare and endangered species such as giant pangolins, African golden cats, panthers, West African slender-snouted crocodiles, and over a hundred species of birds.
The park works with various Gabonese environmental protection organizations to raise awareness about biodiversity and to fight poaching. The Lékédi Biodiversity Foundation wishes to develop new partnerships in research.
Executive Director of the Foundation
I'm happy to launch the Lékédi Biodiversity Foundation today in the presence of Pr. Lee White. This is a first for the Eramet group, it reinforces and ensures the continued existence of our commitments to preserve Gabonese biodiversity. Thanks to the experience acquired with the Lékédi park teams, we are now going to be able to accelerate our action.
The implementation of the Transgabonese railway between Franceville-Moanda and Owendo put an end to the use of the cable car that transported manganese ore from Moanda to Mbinda in Congo until then. The industrial activity in the town of Bakoumba, the nerve center of the cable car's transport installations, nearly stopped. Comilog thus imagined a reconversion project to maintain the activity and started a vast livestock and fish farming program before eventually positioning itself and investing actively in the preservation of biodiversity.
That is how the Lékédi Park was born in 1993. Managed by Sodepal (Société d'exploitation du parc de la Lékédi), a subsidiary of Comilog, it collaborates with various NGOs. Sodepal experts are watching the park's ecosystem daily and work with local schools in order to raise young people's awareness about the importance of preserving biodiversity.
The Park receives about 1,800 visitors each year.
In 2020, four big anti-poaching operations took place. The various missions allowed for the destruction of clandestine camps as well as gold panning camps. Six awareness-raising missions for the populations living near the Park also took place in collaboration with the Waters and Forests department.
One of the Park's major challenges is the rehabilitation of primates and the reintroduction of endangered species in their natural habitat. Thus, in 2020, 7 African wild dogs were reintroduced into the Park after having been absent from Gabon for 25 years.
This operation is part of a vast program for reintroducing and reinforcing Mega Fauna in Gabon, a collaboration between the Aspinall Foundation, the Gabonese National Parks and the Lékédi Park. It extends to many symbolic species such as gorillas, chimpanzees, mandrills, forest buffalos, Fassa waterbucks, bushpigs and African wild dogs.