Appeal for help after riots damage Gabon's national herbarium

Specimen collection is secure, but headquarters suffers hefty losses

Office damaged at the National Herbarium of Gabon during post-election riots on 1 Sep 2016.

Office damaged at the National Herbarium of Gabon during post-election riots on 1 Sep 2016. Photo courtesy of Nestor Engone Obiang.

The curator of the Gabon National Herbarium is appealing for help from the GBIF community after post-election riots on 1 September caused major damage to the herbarium’s headquarters in Libreville.

Dr. Nestor Engone Obiang of l’Herbier National du Gabon reports that, while the herbarium specimens themselves fortunately survived, fires started by the rioters caused losses estimated at €130,000, including computers, scanners, servers, barcode readers, furniture and field equipment.

The herbarium is currently leading an EU-funded project through the Biodiversity Information for Development (BID) programme, aimed at mobilizing more than 70,000 data records from the country to support development of effective biodiversity conservation strategies.

The project partners still hope to continue the project but urgently need help in replacing the missing equipment to get their activities back on track. Their most immediate needs are for computers, scanners and servers as well as materials to mount herbarium specimens.

Those able to help with donations of cash or equipment may contact Dr. Engone Obiang directly or the Secretariat to guide any offers of assistance.

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