Maiko is a large, remote area of dense, humid primary tropical forest in eastern DR Congo bordered by many rivers. The northern part forms the southernmost area of the huge Ituri Forest. The eastern part, up to the Lindi river, is relatively flat (about 1,000 m); eastwards the relief increases. Several rivers rise in a few low mountains to the east, south and north. The vegetation is tall, closed, evergreen lowland rainforest, with a few patches of secondary forest where settlements have been established. Rainfall in the park is amongst the highest in the country, with maxima in October and November and a somewhat drier season in July and August. The area has few human inhabitants, but small settlements are scattered within the park. Access to the park is difficult and tourists are not allowed because of the presence of rebels.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The park holds an important population of Afropavo congensis.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals of global conservation concern include Gorilla gorilla graueri (EN) (estimated at 350–1,000 individuals in 1996), Pan troglodytes (EN) (4,000–5,900), Okapia johnstoni (LR/nt) (2,300–4,300), Loxodonta africana (EN) (5,500–7,500), Cercopithecus hamlyni (LR/nt) and C. l’hoesti (LR/nt).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The area was established as a National Park in 1970. It is managed by ICCN but, due to the inaccessibility of the site, no effective surveillance is possible. Despite its remoteness and the relatively low human population pressures in the surrounding area, the park suffers from heavy poaching. Subsistence hunting by the local people often acquires a commercial dimension. Poachers, gold prospectors and former anti-government rebels live in temporary or more permanent settlements within the park; they are thought to number fewer than 2,000 (less than 0.2 inhabitants/km²). The new Bukavu–Walikale–Lubutu–Kisangani road, which runs south of the site, constitutes a potential threat as it is bound to open up the region to immigrants. Gold mining is an additional threat.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Maiko National Park. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 15/12/2019.