Ituri Forest Pygmies | Who Rules the Forest? National Geographic Magazine

“Pygmy” refers to any human group whose adult males reach less than 150 cm (4 feet 11 inches) in height. They can be found in many places, but the highest density anywhere in the world exists in the Ituri Rainforest in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly called Zaire).

Pygmies are the “canary in the coal mine” for forest ecology in the last forests of Africa. As the forest goes, so go the Pygmies.

Most people believe Africa is full of Tarzan-style jungles. The truth is that there is only one strip left in the middle of the entire continent. The most pristine forest in that strip is the Ituri.

Pygmies are nomadic hunter-gatherers who rely on a healthy forest to …

Ituri Forest Pygmies | Who Rules the Forest? National Geographic Magazine

“Pygmy” refers to any human group whose adult males reach less than 150 cm (4 feet 11 inches) in height. They can be found in many places, but the highest density anywhere in the world exists in the Ituri Rainforest in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly called Zaire).

Pygmies are the “canary in the coal mine” for forest ecology in the last forests of Africa. As the forest goes, so go the Pygmies.

Most people believe Africa is full of Tarzan-style jungles. The truth is that there is only one strip left in the middle of the entire continent. The most pristine forest in that strip is the Ituri.

Pygmies are nomadic hunter-gatherers who rely on a healthy forest to survive. They have no claim to their own home territory, however, because the colonial Belgians assigned land rights only to sedentary groups. Pygmies have hunting rights in association with the sedentary Bantus, and an age-old relationship that is not just commercial, but social and cultural.

Unfortunately, other groups moving into the area for resources don’t have similar symbiotic relationships and are hiring the Pygmies to cut down their own forest.

Ironically, instability is the main factor keeping this jungle healthy. The Kleptocracies that we are familiar with in Africa are devolving into Khakistocracies (rule by AK-47). During the Cold War, Western colonial powers propped up dictators like Mobutu because he wasn’t a Communist. After the Cold War ended, outside support waned and big countries in Africa are unable to control their own borders.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo and some of its neighbors are run by a loose amalgam of warlords with minimal centralized control. These warlords have been fighting around the Ituri for decades, and this ring of instability is the only thing that keeps the outside hordes from coming across the Albertine Rift, one of Africa’s most important areas of biodiversity in need of protection.

There are roughly 300 people per square kilometer on the east side of the rift and 3 per square kilometer on the west. Even with the instability, it won’t stay this way because the demand for resources is too great. Outsiders mining and smuggling gold and Coltan, another rare metal, are already exploiting the area and its people. Greater security along the Albertine rift will allow hordes to flow into the Ituri in search of its resources.

[ … ] Read The Full Story
Blind Pygmy in Manhood Ritual | Epulu, DR Congo, Africa Okapi, a Forest Giraffe Only Exists in the Ituri Forest | DR Congo, Africa Pygmy Boys in nKumbi Manhood Ritual | Epulu, DR Congo Pygmy Boys in Manhood Ritual March Through Ituri Forest | DR Congo Dancing Pygmy Boys Wearing Circumcision Skirts | DR Congo Pygmy Girls Use White Clay Body Paint | Epulu, Democratic Republic of Congo Pygmies Play Handmade Flutes in Ituri Hunting Camp | DR Congo Pygmies Build Hunting Camp Deep in the Ituri Forest | DR Congo Pygmy Leaf Hut – Double Leaf Construction | DR Congo Pygmy Boys Learn to Fish | Forest Hunting Camp in Ituri | DR Congo Pygmy Hunting Involves Using Forest Materials | Ituri Forest, DR Congo Net Hunting Pygmies | Ituri Forest, Democratic Republic of Congo Pygmy Sets Hunting Net | Ituri Forest, Democratic Republic of Congo Blue Duiker Caught by Net Hunting Pygmies | Ituri Forest, DR Congo Net Hunting Pygmy Smoking Dope | Ituri Forest, DR Congo Pygmy Woman Carries Fire in Ituri Forest | DR of Congo Bantu Leader Whips Pygmy Boy | Manhood Ritual | Ituri Forest, DR Congo Pygmy Boy Examines Scarring after 5 Months of Whipping | Ituri Forest Scarification is Part of the Pygmy Manhood Ritual | Ituri Forest Trio of Pygmy Boys waiting for Whipping | Ituri Forest, DR Congo Pygmies Whip Each Other at End of Pygmy Manhood Ritual | Salate, Congo Medicine Man Bantu Fake Pygmy in Salate | DR Congo Girl Pygmies Hide From Whipping in Salate Village | Ituri Forest Trans-African Highway | Main East West Highway in DR Congo Urbanization in the Ituri Forest | Mineral Extraction Towns | DR Congo Artisanal Logging by Bantus Creating Holes in the Ituri Forest | DR Congo Pygmies Are Hired to Cut Down Their Own Forest | Ituri Region | DR Congo A Bantu organizes a Pygmy choir in a church in Epulu | DR Congo Pygmy Girls in Salate Market Feel Uncomfortable Outside the Forest Pygmy Girl is Indentured Servant to Take Care of Bantu Children
« | »