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Wildlife Lasting Management the Long of the Conkouati-Douli National Park Coastline to Congo-Brazzaville  

Makosso-Vheiye Georges1 , Massamba Alphonse2 , Massamba Joachim1 , Silou Thomas1
1 Faculty of Science, Marien Ngouabi University, BP 69, Brazzaville, Congo
2 Laboratory of Nutrition, Health, Human and Motor function Superior Institute of Physical Training and Sports, Marien NGOUABI University, BP 1100, Brazzaville, Congo
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Molecular Zoology, 2012, Vol. 2, No. 7   doi: 10.5376/ijmz.2012.02.0007
Received: 07 Oct., 2012    Accepted: 23 Oct., 2012    Published: 16 Nov., 2012
© 2012 BioPublisher Publishing Platform
This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Makosso-Vheiye et al., 2012, Wildlife Lasting Management the Long of the Conkouati-Douli National Park Coastline to Congo-Brazzaville, Intl. J. of Molecular Zoology, Vol.2, No.7, 55-61 (doi: 10.5376/ijmz.2012.02.0007)


A transverse study has been led to the Conkouati-Douli National Park (CDNP), among hunters of the region, in order to identify hunters and convenient there pertaining. The investigation, achieved by means of a questionnaire, concerned 52 hunters. Their mean age was of 48.2 years (range: 18~62 years old). Males practised essentially hunt activity. The most group for age was represented by hunters aged less than 46 years (76.9%; p<0.01). Concerning the matrimonial status, 2 topics on three were bachelors. However, most of them (90.4%) had people to load: 46.2% (inferior to 5 peoples), 44.2% between 5 and 10 peoples. Besides, the matrimonial status didn’t link to the type of hunt practised. Hunt was practised all along the year, but with the seasonal variations in dejected game term. Otherwise, 90.4% of these hunters were some permanent residents. Hunt constituted a main activity of the household chief for 67.3% (p<0.01). Among these subjects, 63.5% (p<0.02) of hunters practised an activity of subsistence. Facilities, bought in majority (p<0.001), were dominated by the rifle. In conclusion, hunt within the Conkouati-Douli National Park remain an important part of the food for the population living in the forest. In fact, it exists very little or not of alternatives of rising to provide the sufficient animal protein to communities. However, the diversity of hunt practices contributes to the overexploit of the game, therefore to rarity and/or to the certain species disappearance. Consequently, good governance improves management of the bush meat often integrating claiming of the poor farming populations in majority and needs of the conservation of the resource “wild fauna”.

Convenient of hunt; Lasting management; Wild fauna; Conkouati-Douli National Park; Congo (Brazzaville)

In sub-Saharan Africa the practice of hunt to aims of consumption of the bush meat is an important activity in farming environment to assure food to populations. In the forest zones without culture and to the unfavorable pastoral environment it exists only very little or not of alternatives of rising to provide the sufficient animal protein to communities. As one can note it, the meat of bush remains the main and essential source of the animal proteins thus, specially in forest environment, in many country of Central Africa, notably to Congo. However, since some decades, the naivety or the timidity of fauna administrators and the humid tropical forest biodiversity relieved by scientific surrounding concerns, made emerge notions of "Bushmeat crisis", and the perception of empty forest. Hunt, even classic, is accused then to put in peril the animal life in forests of the Congo basin (Fargeot, 2004; 2005). The problematic of the bush meat in farming environment supported regularly on the game clear soup by the farming communities (Tutu et al., 1993); it is constituted by more than 76% of meat of blue duiker and African brush-tailed porcupine, follow-up of bay (Cephalophus dorsalis) and white-bellied (Cephalophus leucogaster) duikers and some species of monkey, specially the Cercopithecus monkeys. The heaviest terrestrial and arboreal mammals occupy a middle position among the other consumed species. Concerning the coastal zone of the south of Congo, particularly the one of the Conkouati-Douli National Park (CDNP), the development of hunt is supposed to be bound to the forest space enhancement, with the growth of the industry of the wood exploitation and the forest track opening. With the demographic growth and the urbanization accelerated of the city of Pointe-Noire, maritime harbor and agglomeration close to the CDNP, convenient of hunt activity evolved however toward on the one hand of the mercantile withdrawals in urban market direction and on the other hand, the diversification of models of consumption of the bush meat.

However, no data is nowadays available as for the profile of hunt of subsistence of the bush meat in the zone adjoining the Conkouati-Douli National Park. The objectives of this study were to characterize the identity of hunters and to appreciate practices and motives of hunt of the bush meat.

1 Results
Individuals exercising hunt in the Conkouati-Douli National Park were all of masculine sex. Their middle age was of 48.2 years with extremes of 18 and 62 years, without meaningful difference between age groups (Figure 1 A). However, the topics aged of less than 35 years proved to be represented more. With regard to the matrimonial statute 2 topics on 3 were unmarried, either 69.2% (p<0.01). Otherwise, 47 (90.4%) some permanent residents were among hunters; 4 people on five lived in the zone of the survey between 1 and 10 years, the other during more than 10 years. As for the living people number in the household it appears a comparable distribution of hunters whose households understood less than 5 people (46.2%) and 5~10 people (44.2%). Concerning the main activity of the household chief, 2 people on 3 (either 67.3%) exercised hunt, the difference being meaningful (p<0.01). The influence in the days of residence in the village on the main activity of the household chief proved to be non meaningful. According to the importance granted to hunt, he/it comes out again that this one constituted an activity of subsistence for 3 topics on 5, either 63.5% of them investigated with a meaningful difference (p<0.02). However, age didn't exercise an influence on motives of hunt for the consumption of the bush meat (Figure 1 B).  

Figure 1
Conkouati-Douli National Park (Ancrenaz, 1991)

Indeed, the dejected game was destined gladly to the consumption blows, this some either the age group. However, hunt stayed a secondary activity for topics of less than 35 years (n=26, either 65% of this age group). The time opened out for hunt depended of the season, depending on whether hunt was exercised to mid or full time. The length of the hunt part could take 5 days (in full time); sometimes, she/it took several days when she/it took place to the north periphery of the park, toward the border of Gabon. Of hunt facilities they resulted in majority (p<0.001) of a purchase, for 88.5% of topics. The other fringe had acquired it by domestic inheritance or by renting by a third. Nevertheless, highly meaningful relation (p=0.003) exists between the time of residence in the village and the fashion of facilities acquirement: hunters in permanent residence were more minded to the purchase of facilities. Hunt was practiced in 59.6% of cases with the help of a rifle. The net was rarely used (3.8% of cases). The trapping, 29.6% of cases, often used the destructive wire-ropes, without distinction of the terrestrial fauna. The link between the matrimonial statute and the type of hunt exercised proved to be non meaningful (p=0.2). Hunt by the fires of bush only represented 7.0% of cases.

2 Discussion
Concerning the sex of hunters our results corroborate with observations of the other countries in Africa, notably of the West Africa. Hunt is essentially a masculine activity. But women and children also play an important role in the withdrawal of wild fauna resources to nourish the family. To the Southeast of Gabon they put traps to capture small mammals and birds on the outskirts of plantations (Levy and Lemeshow, 1999). Those also, the Mbutis tribes (forest of the Ituri), Ngandu and Boyela (Kwango-Kwilu), in Democratic Republic of Congo, take as in the same way rodents with the traps. In West Africa, the harvest of snails is essentially the fact of women and children (Moutsamboté and Sita, 1996). However, a fact is true; in sub-Saharan black Africa, women don't reach this type of activity. In the range of activities counted at these last one recovers in majority agriculture in fields to surroundings of villages and the micro trades of the derivative products. Besides, in a region as the one of the district of Nzambi, the proximity of the important market of consumption that represents the agglomeration of Pointe-Noire, make agriculture become speculative, in spite of depredations of elephants, a factor of development of the farming zone. Thus, women are the economic suppliers, competing with the role of men in families. These observations join those of Bosserup (1983) and Kane (Lahm, 1993) in West Africa. As for the age of hunters, it appears that the average of age is of 48 years old, 2 years old, with a more elevated representativeness of 18 to 35 years old (42.3%; p>0.05) (table 1).

Table 1
Distribution of hunters and place of the hunting to the Conkouati-Douli National Park

However, according to Molade (2000), strength and the experience of hunt specifically vary with the hunter's youth of which cleverness transmute between 16 and 50 years old. The strongest rate raised at the young of this age group can be assigned to the commercial aspect, hardback factor to teenage and young adult behaviors. Indeed, these topics give out attitudes of autonomy more than that the other, to the plan of the legitimacy discerned (Augustini et al., 1994). All along their life of teenager or young adult, they internalize norms, of roles, of customs written down in a complex process of social differentiation, progressively. This social role acquirement comes true without the influence of reference groups (parents, equals) or of institutions. This socialization achieves itself notably by the slant of training process, by backing and/or inhibition of uses, depending on whether they are judged suitable or no. Hunt appears from then on like a social activity among others, submissive to the same rules of working. Thus, the less than 35 years old and the other are not confronted in an identical way to demands of the market concerning bush meat.

Our data also underline that it is topics having less than 11 people that is most numerous (90.4%; p<0.001). The concerned age groups can be therefore that those of less than 35 years old and 35 to 45 years old. The sexual behavior is reinforced there generally at these individuals, as specific masculine characteristic in farming environment. Otherwise, exploiting the physical capacities of work bound to their biologic maturation, bachelors and bridegrooms of this age group use hunt to put in exergue their autonomy. The dejected games are destined electively to the sale, this to ends of modern product purchase supposed of first necessity: clothes, dish, portable telephone, box of canned food, matches, soap, station radio, drink (alcohol “pastis”). These individuals prove to be real social actors, of the economic agents expeditious to assume itself/themselves and to assure the survival of their setting. They assume responsibilities previously assigned to the aged people while becoming facto of the near collaborators of village chiefs (or of family). It is associated in part to their economic power, had consideration to the manner to struggle to find solutions bound to conditions of existence of their dependent.

Concerning the main activity of the household chief, 67.3% (p<0.01) exercise hunt. Data of an investiga- tion achieved in West Africa on interrogated 112 hunters (Moutsamboté and Sita, 1996), it comes out again that 80% declare to have another activity (occasional hunters and / or are fishermen). On the other hand, alone 10% are hunters in full-time, which 5% for Ghana, 2% for Togo and 3% for Benin and in short 4% to the Nigeria.

Besides, the importance of hunt increased these last years in Central Africa in association with other farming activities as hunters, hunters-pickers and commercial hunters (Adie and Atibt, 2005).

This fact is noted in particular in the zone of investigation, because of the reduction of the gainful uses, in urban environment specially. These contribute to nourish the economic possibilities of the farming populations and to increase the value added of the bush meat, so much as food source that financial. It is why the food insecurity contributed to the expansion of withdrawals of products of the wild fauna; process accentuated by the cultural values, sometimes greatly anchored in customs of populations, this in a context of pauperization, more and more important demo- graphic pressure and strong urbanization. Thus, these factors explain the development of a lucrative path of the trade of the bush meat (Auzel, 2001; Auzel et al., 2000), framed very badly following the stake in implementing of a legal setting very little adapted. For the poorest populations, hunt is an activity that generates an important source of incomes. In consequence, while considering the level of present consumption of game as unbearable, at a time for the wild fauna and for the local populations themselves. It would probably entail a food insecurity phenomenon through the natural resource loss of which depends on the millions of inhabitants of countries of Central Africa. It is also the case of communities living in the Conkouati-Douli National Park. One of approaches to dam up the phenomenon is to reduce the non protected species hunt and to put alternatives in place to the bush meat.

However, this approach remains difficult to put at the level in work of Congo where the bush meat is a tradition in villagers’ gourmets. Also, the management of hunt remains is a very controversial activity. The national regulations prohibit bush meat merchandising. However, it allows the slaughtering of the maximal quantities of games defined by the law, without accepting the trade of products drifted of hunt; even though tradesmen get a stock by the authorized hunters, as it is the case of the artisanal hunters in Cameroon (Adie and Atibt, 2005). Besides, in other African countries hunt is not only a means to obtain of supplies. It is also as a social event to the course of which the young people put to test their virility in order to increase their means of subsistence thanks to hunt (Infield, 1988).

Concerning the seasonal variations of hunt, they affected hunters differently. Hunt is effectively functioning of the hunter's personal conviction; it is practiced all year round, in spite of the forecasting of periods of opening and closing of the hunt season. Often, it is during the raining season (when herbs are high and forest impenetrable) that animals are more abundant. Hunt is preferred therefore in rain season, because displacements on the humid litter are easy and silent, contrary to the dry season where the least crunch of leaves and the dry branches can immediately alert animals. Nights of full moon are as unfavorable because animals reduce their activities. However, in dry season some activities (agriculture, fishing) can be reconciled to hunt.

Besides, a no significantly relation (p=0.051) has been recovered between the motive of hunt and the hunter's age (Table 2). These data reinforce the previous observations, relative to the over frequency of the less than 46 years. Concerning modes of acquirement of hunt facilities the purchase concerned 88.5% of hunters (p<0.001). The origin seems multi factorial: local manufacture; bequests and grants; detention of war weapons after the armed conflicts of 1997-1998. However, the first two factors seem prominent, had consideration to us and customs in this region (country vili tribe). These observations cut up the fact that the permanent residents are most numerous (p=0.003) to buy facilities of hunt. Our investigation also revealed that hunt to the rifle was exercised by 3 hunters on five (56.6%; p<0.05). This report is formerly in concordance with the advanced arguments. These data are comparable those rose in other countries of sub-Saharan black Africa, even though the type of rifle is varied. To Nigeria one uses rifles of bill traditionally to charge by the cannon, made there; and one resorts to dogs and fire to raise the game (Afolayan, 1980; Molade, 2000). Thus, the production of the bush meat is activated by the detention of a personal hunt weapon, and the professional hunter organization in association with many young hunters to full or half-time. However, Asibey (1974) observed that in West Africa facilities of hunt had evolved of the simple trap, bows and arrows to rifles and often to the automatic fire arms. The introduction of the Danish rifles and carbines appears as the result of the urbanization corresponding to a big necessity to protect themselves of the wild animals (Moutsamboté and Sita, 1996). These rifles are use by the professional hunter. In West Africa, in many countries, a hunter who kills a buffalo with a Danish rifle is raised besides, to the rank of the hierarchy of hunters of his community, because of the big risk incurred to hunt an aggressive animal with a weapon semi primitive (Moutsamboté and Sita, 1996). Otherwise, hunters making use of the rifle operate alone, but often with an aide's aid or in group. They normally leave their house the morning for an expedition of one day and come back in the evening. In the case where hunt is done in group it is practiced in a seasonal way. Otherwise, hunt, by means of fires of bush, was done, to capture rats. However, hunt can be exercised by an alone hunter. When hunt takes place close to a neighboring village, villagers run, associate to hunters and enlarge the group; and the game either captured dejected is shared collectively. In this case, according to us and customs, a part of meat is offered to the chief of the village (especially in cases of the sacred soils). In short, it seems existed hunters at the level investigated a certain conflict between hunters to the rifle and trappers that confess mutually to destroy fauna. In fact, their impact is complementary, and their responsibility in the rarefaction of the equivalent game. Hunt to the rifle is little selective; however, hunters don't respect any rule to prevent the slaughtering of the young animals, the pregnant female and the female with their babies when they can recognize them. As for traps they are not selective: they permit the capture of all terrestrial species inside a large fan of weight whose limit depends on the technical features of traps (Feer and Makosso-Vheiye, 1991). The abandonment of traditions and the territoriality of forests at the level communities’ villagers, the rarefaction of the game and the pressure exercised by the commercial hunt shock the context customary of the management of the wild fauna deeply.

Table 2
Influence of age on the use of the dejected game

3 Conclusion
Hunt, within the Conkouati-Douli National Park, is an essentially masculine activity. It constitutes a source important of food, notably, of animal proteins. However, the production of the bush meat, principal fashion of fauna use, exploits the fauna potential locally. Conversely, the traditional hunt exercised to small scale can only have a weak impact on the wild fauna if one excludes some convenient as beats to fires. Hunters to the rifle cut down all animals that they meet without distinction of age and sex, traps are no selective. Otherwise, the diversity of hunt practices contributes to the overexploitation of the wild fauna, therefore to rarity and/or to the certain specie disappearance.

This overexploitation dresses several shapes. Most frequent rest on one hand on an artisanal and occasional poaching intended to the restocking of villagers. This last is characterized by the rudimentary method use, although one observes the use marked of wire-ropes more and more. Of the other one notes a semi-industrial poaching that delivers him to the intensive massacres of animals for a lucrative goal. It exercises itself with the modern weapons specialized for the thick game and sometimes of weapons and munitions of war maladjusted to hunt. The maladjusted governance to the management of the bush meat to Congo is therefore to the origin of unsuitability between the preoccupation of animal species preservation, the social justice, the fairness and the food security. The improvement of the popular and local production of the bush meat would pass then by a stake in work of management strategies; it would suppose a real legalization of the activity of traffic of the bush meat. For it, to the look of the importance of the consumption of the game in the food of the Congolese populations, it proves to be necessary to integrate claiming of the farming populations disinherited, but neglected screws to political interest screw, environmental and economic more and more powerful.

4 Materials and Methods
4.1 Type of Survey and Geographical Situation

It is about a nutritional survey, transverse study achieved of September 2010 to November 2011 and that carried on the riparian communities of the Conkouati-Douli National Park. This protected area is situated in the southwesterly part of Congo, on horseback between under-prefectures of Madingo Kaye, Nzambi and Kakamoeka, very close to the maritime facade (Figure 1). The Conkouati-Douli National Park spreads between 3°23~4°18 and 11°06~11°43 ES (Hecketsweiler, 1990, Sokal and Rohlf, 1995). It is limited to the north by the border with Gabon, to the East by savannas of Cotovindo, to the west by the Atlantic Ocean and to the south by the Conkouati lagoon and the Ngongo River (PNCD and WCS, 2005).

4.2 Sampling
To the total 5 513 people composed the population living in and around the park at the time of the survey. The sampling operated itself after determination of the general population; the population target was constituted of hunters of every riparian village. Two uncertain pulls with two fractions of 1/10 have been done in the population of the survey by village. Every village is divided in districts, which are subdivided in blocks. To ends of representation the selection of districts and blocks within a village has been achieved according to a pull at 1/3 for every entity. The sample has been constituted by pull to 1/3 and two degrees: the district and the block for villages where resided more than 20 hunters. For a population lower to 20 hunters, all these last were included in the sample. So, 26 blocks have been kept to the descended of this process. Were included in this investigation people living in the zone of the park and practicing hunt like main activity, since more of 5 or 10 years, or regularly. The other criteria of eligibility were the practice of hunt and the permanent residence in the Conkouati- Douli National Park (sector of the investigation). From the identified households, the fashion of minimal pull at 1/10, fraction admitted at the time of the national investigations (Martin, 1983) permitted to select 52 hunters. This process also took account of the geographical situation of the habitable zones (number of slots in the village, surface). The hunter's choice as statistical unit permitted to collect the wanted information (information on the household and members of the household), while interrogating the solely no one that usually takes care of hunt. It didn't exist criteria of exclusion so that a household is eligible. This sample permitted to have a reasonable precision on the identification of hunters and the practice of hunt. The number of retained hunters also obeyed the demographic weight of every village.

Otherwise, within a same household (or members of family living together) if several topics exercise hunt, only one among them was selected by uncertain pull. In any case, the consent of the topic constituted a previous; this one was interrogated in the absence of a member of the family or a third person.

4.3 Procedure of the Investigation
The used method, during all the length of the survey, was the interview of type "one day given" and of interviews with questionnaire. They have been achieved very well in language vehicular «munukutuba» or «kikongo» (called "kituba" again), spoken extensively by populations; either in local languages "vili and lumbu" very rife in the region of the park.

4.4 Studied Variables
The survey consisted, after the direct observations, by a meticulous description of the hunter identity and the structure of the hunt practice. The sex, age, the social statute and relations between different parameters also constituted variables of the survey.

4.5 Statistical Analysis
The descriptive figures have been used in order to determine, besides percentages of hunters, averages, gaps types of age and intervals of confidence (IC). The survey of the relation between different factors has been done with the help of the test of khi two. The significantly of differences discerned between 2 percentages has been verified according to the classic tests of the statistical inferential. The comparison of several percentages has been done with the help of the S test of Serlin and Beauvois (1991). For it the value of comparison 2 is given by tables of 2 to (h-1) degrees of liberty with a doorstep of significantly of 5%. In short, the harvested data have been treated with the help of Ear-Info software and Statistics (Stat Soft, Inc. 1993).

We thank the set of agents of the Conkouati-Douli National Park, particularly Mr. Grégoire Bonassidi, Curator, for his own implication in the verification of information at the time of the investigation. We also wish to thank the set of our investigators and they find here all our recognition for the realization of this inventory and hunters for their active involvement.

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