Inogwabini Bila-Isia, DRC

Photo: Bila Isia Inogwabini

Photograph by Becky Hale

Inogwabini Bila-Isia is based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he works for World Wildlife Fund as the Lac Tumba project manager. He conducts field research, helps local groups with natural resource management, and is working on a long-term biodiversity conservation program. He designed and started a bonobo habituation program and elephant and buffalo monitoring programs in Lac Tumba. He has aided in the delineation of the Tumba-Lediima Natural Reserve that will protect these animals and other large mammals. He is also using his expertise at the national level as a political liaison to advocate for conservation activities.

Born and raised in the equatorial forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bila-Isia’s early knowledge of plants and animals and love of the environment were inspired by treks through the terrain. While he studied physics in high school and at university, he jumped at an opportunity to accompany a friend into conservation work in 1993. Bila-Isia became a part of the eastern Zaire forest inventories to census the mountain gorillas there. From Zaire he went to the Salonga National Park, where he served as field conservation project director for the Zoological Society of Milwaukee and researched bonobos. He then moved into the central Africa region and became active with a Wildlife Conservation Society group tracking elephants to stop illegal trade and killing. Bila-Isia coordinated inventories, organized training sessions, and taught ecological survey methods for teams in six countries. Over the past decade he has trained dozens of researchers and research assistants across central Africa.

Related Features

  • ng-buffett-logo.jpg

    National Geographic/Buffett Awards

    Learn more to recognize and celebrate unsung heroes working in the field. Awardees have demonstrated outstanding leadership in managing and protecting the natural resources in his or her country and region. They are each inspirational conservation advocates, who serve as role models and mentors.

Video: Exploration Without Limits

Our Explorers in Action

See Photos »

Meet All Our Explorers

  • NationalGeographic_1289095-flag.jpg

    Explorers A-Z

    At the heart of our explorers program is the quest for knowledge through exploration and the people who make it possible.

  • Photo: Michael Lombardi diving

    Explorers by Category

    Browse our different areas of exploration and discover the fascinating people behind the projects.