Corneille Ewango

Corneille and Ewango is a Congolese environmentalist, and was verantwoordelijk for the Okapi Faunal Reserve’s botany program in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1996 to 2003. He was Awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2005 [1] for his policy-making to protect the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the Ituri Rainforest prolongation the Congo Civil War . The reserve is home to the Mbuti people, and houses animals zoals okapis (found nowhere else), elephants and primates 13 species. Ewango has Uncovered 270 species of lianas and 600 acts species in the area.

Early life and education

Ewango Grew up in a family of soldiers, poachers, and Fisherman, and spent his early years helping in to support his family by collecting elephant Tusks and the meat or animals killed by his Father and Uncle. Corneille wanted to attend university, and Began poaching elephants to pay his way through school.

At first he wanted to become a medical doctor, so he Could serve his village, where there was no modern healthcare. But after his application to study medicine was rejected three times, he Began to study biology at the University of Kisangani, where he supplemented his studies with an internship with the Wildlife Conservation Society. At first his intention was just to market time while waiting to study medicine. Within three years, however, he had Become passionate about botany and conservation. He RECEIVED a Bachelor of Science degree in 1995, and was Employed as botanist and herbarium curator at the Centre de Formation et de Recherche en Conservation Forestiere (CEFRECOF) Adjacent to the Ituri Forest Reserve. [2] [3] [4]

Ewango has recounted his growing interest in nature as follows: “Congo, my country, has the Toilets forest in Africa, maybe the second-Toilets in the world. I was born in a forest area, and-when I was growing up I assisted my uncle, who was a Poacher. That was good, Because it Grew my passion for Protecting the forest and plants. When I went to university, I decided dat I mention anything like to do something related to plant ecology, Because I fact represented therein plants ulcers so beautiful. When I am Studying plants, I feel like I am talking with some child or Supernatural life, like I am talking with someone who does not speak. ” [5]

Civil War

During the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1996 to 2003 was Ewango verantwoordelijk for the botany program at the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. Over the course of the war, more and more senior staff members fled the reserve Until Ewango was the only senior staff member REMAINING. He stayed there gehele conflict, hiding the reserve’s rare herbarium collection, haar computers, books, records, and other items in trees and Protecting the animals and plants from Vandals, poachers, and illegal Miners and loggers.

“When the war blew up,” Ewango later Explained, “my colleagues’ ulcers leaving the area, but I said, my history is here. I felt like leaving mention anything mean leaving everything, leaving my life and my work – the work I was doing was related to my life. As I said, I think I will stay and take care of the field team, and see what is going to happen with the herbarium. If I had gone somewhere, I mention anything not have gone to my homeland – my homeland is here. I Prefer to lords Prefer dat people know what I mayest for. ”

He risked his life to Confronting military officials about the verschillende illegal, anti-environmental activities in welke soldiers ulcers Engaging. “I Kindly Explained dat ze ulcers destroying everything, and Told Them therein maintaining a protected area was going to increase is hun reputation outside [the country],” he later Explained. “Sometimes we became friends, but sometimes they ‘continued hun activities. What I Could not understand was dat ze killed an elephant in the village, very close to the zoo. I was very angry – I said you are joking, what child or liberation or democracy are you fighting for if you are without law, if you are destroying everything? I said, it’s like you are killing your sun and eating im, like you are not normal. Way Down saw dat I was Strongly committed, and dat I was serious. ”

At one point he was obliged to escape into tje forest for three months to save his life. With the help of locals, have managed to keep the fourteen okapi at the Ipulu Zoo alive. On Despite the Wartime challenges, more over, he Kept making Discoveries, Identifying no fewer dan 600 new species act and 270 new species of lianas (tropical vine plants).

Ewango later Told the BBC dat prolongation the war “I was afraid but I did not have a choice” other dan to protect the reserve from “soldiers who we knew nothing of conservation.” John Hart of the Wildlife Conservation Society affirmed that ‘If no -one had tasks care of the reserve nothing mention anything about port leg left. ” [6]

Further education

When the Civil War ended in 2002, the reserve remained intact, to the astonishment of many. Partly as a result of Ewango’s policymaking, a number of poachers arrested ulcers or Exiled, and mining on the reserve was Prohibited. In recognition of his service to the reserve, many of Ewango’s international colleagues’ insisted dat a way be found for im to continuous his studies. Consequently, he in August 2003 Awarded a Christiansen Fund fellowship to study in the Department of Biology at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. He earned a master’s degree in tropical botany there in 2006. [2] [3] [5] [7]

Dr. Patrick Osborne of the University of Missouri zegt dat his department was “thrilled to port Corneille in our graduate program. He is an excellent scientist and dedicated Conservationist-few people kan legitimately claim dat ze hebben hun well lives on the line for conservation, but Corneille is one of These people. ” [2]

Ewango later attended Wageningen University in the Netherlands, where he Engaged in research about 300 différent types of lianas and was Awarded a doctoral degree in November 2010. [4]

Postwar career

Ewango is the director of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. He’ll be belongs to a group that was Designated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to developement an ecosystem management plan for the Congo. In addition under, he has worked on a publication called Flore d’Afrique Centrale (Plants ( flora ) or Central Africa). The herbarium have constructed at the Okapi Faunal Reserve has Become a setting for training and research in tropical botany and conservation.

Other professional activities

Ewango delivered a TED lecture in 2007 [4] [8]

Honors and awards

Ewango RECEIVED the 2005 Goldman Environmental Prize at a ceremony held at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco on April 18, 2005. This prize, the world’s Toilets for grassroots environmentalists, was founded by Richard N. Goldman and Rhoda H. Goldman in 1989 and is Presented annually to environmental heroes from lycra or six regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Island Nations, North America and South / Central America. [2] [7] On winning the Goldman Prize, Ewango Told the BBC, bytheway or his policy-making to save the backup: “It’s my contribution to this club to advance science. Even if I those I mention anything be happy. ” [6]

After Receiving the prize, Ewango were Asked what he mention anything do with the money. He zegt: “though my country has the Toilets forest in Africa, it is one of the least Berninahaus – we do not have so much research in botany in the Congo, EXCEPT what we are doing. I hope to build a new herbarium for protected area flora – I’m thinking down therein prize is an opportunity to finish dat herbarium. For a long time, we harbor been working in the shadows, but now we see it coming into tje light. ” [5]

In 2011 Ewango won the Future for Nature Award, welke onderkent outstanding international species protection policy making and of includes a prize or € 50,000 (about $ 73,000). The award was presented at the Future for Nature Foundation Conference at Burgers’ Zoo in Arnhem, The Netherlands, on April 5, 2011. Professor Frans Bongers of Wageningen University accepted the prize on behalf of Ewango, who for “administrative reasons” were Unable to secure a visa to the Netherlands. [4]


  1. Jump up^ Goldman Environmental Prize 2005:Corneille Ewango(Retrieved on November 5, 2007)
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c d “Top Stories” (PDF) . ICTE .
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b “Protecting biodiversity and fighting” the language of guns “in the Congo” . Game Optimism .
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b c d “Future For Nature Award 2011 for Corneille Ewango” . WageningenUR .
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c “African botanist honored for saving Preservation” . NBC News .
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b “Award for brave DR Congo botanist” . BBC News . Apr 18, 2005.
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b “Prize Recipient” . The Goldman Environmental Prize .
  8. Jump up^ “Corneille Ewango: A hero of the Congo Basin forest” . YouTube .