Otter Conservation Education Campaign in Africa

By Dr. Jo Thompson

As a direct result of the August 2001 IUCN/SSC African Otter Specialist Group meeting (The River Otter Journal, Vol. X, No. 2, Autumn 2001), a new project has been launched to create a conservation education brochure about otters in sub-Saharan Africa for Africans. Raising public awareness and providing educational materials is tantamount as a first step for African otter conservation. This first-of-its-kind project will be produced in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo by the Lukuru Wildlife Research Project in collaboration with the IUCN/SSC African Otter Specialist Group (OSG), Aktion Fischotterschutz, and the Congo Institute for the Conservation of Nature. The narrative was written by Dr. Jo Thompson, under the advise of Mr. Claus Reuther, Chairman of the IUCN/SSC OSG. The artistic interpretations are by Mr. Kizito Ngoma Muanda. The brochure text will be translated into indigenous languages of French and Lingala. The translator is Mr. Musokony Euarist. Lingala is the commercial language for all rural people across the whole of the Congo Basin (countries including DRCongo, Congo-Brazzaville, Cameroon, CAR, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Angola) in Equatorial Africa. The Lingala version will be distributed in the hinterlands of all the Congo Basin countries. The French version will be distributed in the urban areas of those countries and other lingua franca countries. Partial funding for this multi-page brochure (or depliant) will be provided by otter SSP institutions.