BBC News. (2005, April 18). Award for brave DR Congo botanist. [Online]. Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4456631.stm [2008, May 27].
Democratic Republic of Congo
Democratic Republic of Congo; war; botanist; award; conservation; Goldman Environmental Prize; poaching; militia; bushmeat
A botanist who stayed in a nature reserve throughout the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo is to receive an award for his bravery.
Corneille Ewango stayed on after most other staff fled for their lives.
He helped discover new species of tree and protect the endangered okapi, or forest-giraffe, from rampaging gunmen.
"It's my contribution to advance science. Even if I die, I would be happy," he told the BBC before being given the Goldman Environmental Prize.
"I was afraid but I didn't have a choice," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.
Years of effort would have been destroyed by "soldiers who knew nothing of conservation", he said.
At the height of the fighting, he hid in the forest for three months.
The winner of the 2005 Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa also managed to persuade the militia commanders to order their men to stop poaching elephants and primates.
And yet, as a young boy, he used to help his uncle poach...