Protect the Congo Basin rainforest, 
so we can all breathe better.

Let this

Sink in

Let this

Sink in

No matter where you live, the Congo Basin rainforest is vital to your future.


Sustains Wildlife

More than 400 species of mammals – including the endangered forest elephant, bonobos, and pangolins, call the Congo Basin rainforest home.


Supports Habitats

A mosaic of rivers, rainforests, and foggy mountains, this massive tropical forest sustains all kinds of life – both within its borders and across the world. More than 10,000 species of tropical plants thrive here!


Regulates Climate

Known as the “Lungs of Africa,” the Congo Basin rainforest is the world’s largest carbon sink. Its 500 million acres of rainforest capture more carbon annually than the Amazon – making it vitally important to helping our planet adapt to climate change so you and your family can all breathe better.

Save one, save them all

Here’s another startling fact: when you save wildlife, you’re also saving the planet.

You see, Africa’s wildlife depends on the ecosystems our planet relies on, too. The only way to protect one is to conserve the other. And, for any solution to have a chance at success, it must be led by the people who live there and know them best.

That’s what sets African Wildlife Foundation’s comprehensive conservation programs apart… We’re focused on solutions that create opportunities for people – not at the expense of wildlife and their habitats, but because of them.

Conservation is a balancing act

Developing Leadership

Through education and economic opportunities rooted in conservation, we’re ushering in a new generation that sees their success and wildlife thriving inextricably linked.

Protecting Wildlife

We’re ensuring a future for Africa’s most endangered species by stopping wildlife traffickers and collaborating with communities to preserve habitats amid sustainable development.

Negotiating Land

Habitat loss is the top threat to wildlife in Africa – which is why we support land-use planning that takes resource management, livelihoods, and conservation into account.

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Helping bonobos 
bounce back

Bonobos are one of our closest genetic cousins – but humans are their top predators. Found only in the lush swamps of the Congo Basin rainforest, bonobo populations are quickly declining due to habitat loss and illegal bushmeat hunting.

Bonobos play a necessary role in forest regeneration through their mostly fruit, flower, and seed diet. Slow to reproduce, restoring their population is even more difficult. Every bonobo birth is a cause for celebration.

“The mother [bonobo] was so caring that I literally had tears in my eyes seeing her nurture the infant bonobo”

– Epoko Loyenga Son
Eco-guard working in the Iyondji Community Bonobo Reserve

In the Congo Basin rainforest, we’ve established two community reserves – Lomako-Yokokala Faunal Reserve and Iyondji Community Bonobo Reserve – where bonobos can thrive. These sites also create jobs and generate tourism income, making conservation mutually beneficial for local communities, and all of us.

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Forest elephants & forests 
rely on each other

Considered the “gardeners of the Congo,” forest elephants ensure the survival of their ecosystems. They maintain biodiversity by eating then dispersing seeds in one of the Earth’s critical carbon-sequestering tropical forests.

Forest elephants’ carbon-capturing service is valued in the billions of dollars, but just as their ability to help replant the forest is highly valued, so are their ivory tusks. Nearly 62 percent of all forest elephants have been slaughtered for their ivory in just the last decade.

“The future of this keystone migratory species is at risk – and so are the fragile ecosystems that depend on it”

– Nathan Gichohi
Senior Landscape Ecologist, AWF

The first step to protecting this critical species is gathering comprehensive data. That’s why AWF is funding research to better understand their habits, movement, and patterns. Because saving forest elephants means saving the Congo Basin rainforest – and ourselves.

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The Congo Basin 
is at a


One path follows unsustainable development.

Deforestation and rampant resource mining deplete this vital habitat. If wildlife perishes or leaves, then the carbon kept in this sink enters the atmosphere. We already see the impacts of climate change, but it will only get worse if global leaders and communities pursue short-term gains.

Another path leads to harmony

Communities prosper alongside the rainforest – seeing mutual benefit in safeguarding its rich biodiversity. Bonobos, forest elephants, mountain gorillas… their populations rebound and thrive in modern Africa. Climate change is already here, but the Lungs of Africa are strong enough to help our planet adapt.

Save the Congo Basin rainforest – and our planet

The Congo Basin rainforest sustains impressive life within its borders and around the world. For all of us to breathe better, we must conserve it. Join us today with a gift.

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Stay Involved

African Wildlife Foundation is Africa’s leading and most trusted conservation organization. Our strategies to fight poaching, habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, climate change, and other threats are working to save endangered species from extinction. Stay involved!