Boyekole Ebale Congo means ‘Study of the Congo River’ in Lingala, and that is exactly what a multidisciplinary team of scientists from Congo, Belgium and some other European countries did when they set off on the 30 April 2010, in an expedition to survey the biodiversity in and around the Congo River. This journey was put together by Congolese and Belgian scientists, and the experiences they shared have firmly reinforced the spirit and practice of cooperation between the two scientific communities as a result.
For five weeks 67 assorted zoologists, botanists, hydrologists, geologists, cartographers, archaeologists and linguists were engrossed in diverse explorations of this outstanding environment, driven by a desire to learn more about this gigantic basin. From analysing the water quality of the river and its tributaries to examining the aquatic fauna and flora, the expedition’s work in the second largest rainforest in the world extended to the banks of the river, where scientists observed the native plants and animals and visited several villages in the area to conduct interviews with local residents.
Two specially equipped boats allowed researchers to live and work on water. Packed with tons of scientific and logistical equipment, they went from Kisangani to Bumba and back, covering a total of nearly 1000km. A large delegation of journalists accompanied the expedition. Are so many people and material really necessary? Well yes, because in terms of science this area is still very much terra incognita.
The expedition yielded thousands of photos, observations, recordings and
samples, and it will take months if not years to process all this
information. Regular updates on the results will be posted in de
‘results’ and ‘publications’ sections.