Ituri Rainforest

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View of Epulu River in the Ituri area.
Engraving of Stanley's expedition crossing a clearing in the forest, from his book In Darkest Africa, 1890
Map of Ituri within the DRC

The Ituri Rainforest is a rainforest located in the Ituri region of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo formerly called Zaire. The forest's name derives from the nearby Ituri River which flows through the rainforest, connecting firstly to the Aruwimi River and finally into the Congo.


The Ituri Rainforest is about 63,000 square kilometers in area, and is located between 0° and 3°N and 27° and 30° E. Elevation in the Ituri ranges from about 700 m to 1000 m. The average temperature is 31°C (88°F) and the average humidity is about 85% (Wilkie 1987).[1] About one-fifth of the rainforest is made up of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, a World Heritage Site. It is also the home of the Mbuti pygmies, one of the hunter-gatherer peoples living in equatorial rainforests characterised by their short height (below one and a half metres, or 59 inches, on average). They were the subject of a study by Colin Turnbull, The Forest People, in 1962. The Ituri Rain forest was first traversed by Europeans in 1887 by Henry Morton Stanley on his Emin Pasha Relief Expedition.


  1. Wilkie, David. S. 1987. Impact of Swidden Age and Subsistence Hunting on Diversity and Abundance of Exploited Fauna in the Ituri Forest of Northeastern Zaire. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, University of Massachusetts.

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