The world body cites "improvements towards its conservation state" in its decision to remove Salonga, Africa's largest protected rainforest that is home to several endangered species, from the UNESCO list of threatened sites.

he logo of UNESCO is seen inside the headquarters in Paris, September 29, 2003.
he logo of UNESCO is seen inside the headquarters in Paris, September 29, 2003. (Reuters Archive)

The Democratic Republic of Congo has scored a key heritage victory as UNESCO removed one of its nature reserves from a list of threatened sites.

UNESCO on Monday praised the country's conservation efforts and the government's commitment to ban prospecting for oil in Salonga, the vast central African country's largest public park.

The World Heritage Committee cited "improvements towards its conservation state" in its decision, according to a statement Monday.

"Regular monitoring of the wild fauna shows that the bonobo (ape) populations remain stable within the territory despite past pressure, and that the forest elephant population is starting to come back," the statement said.

The Congolese environment ministry welcomed the move.

It would be "an opportunity to rethink the management of the peatland with a view to quantifying its capacity to absorb carbon" emissions, it told AFP in a statement.

Salonga is Africa's largest protected rainforest and home to 40 percent of the Earth's bonobo apes, along with several other endangered species.

It was created in 1970 by then dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and had been on the endangered list since 1984.

The park is also home to slender-snouted crocodiles and Congo peacocks.

READ MORE: DRC to open mountain gorilla parks to oil drilling

Source: TRTWorld and agencies