Virunga is truly the crown jewel of Africa’s national parks. The park contains over 50% of sub-Saharan Africa’s biodiversity and is home to about 200 of the earth’s last 720 critically endangered mountain gorillas. Virunga is also the second oldest national park in the world, behind only Yellowstone. Despite this, the forests and amazing animals of the park, most notably the mountain gorilla, are in a desperate fight for their survival.
The park, its rangers and field team have constantly been at war with militia groups and poachers alike. In 2007 seven mountain gorillas were killed in the park, which is shared between Rwanda, the DR Congo and Uganda. Conservationists blame the militias who have also looted property from rangers. Rebel groups such as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and Allied Democratic Force (ADF) guerillas from Uganda have plundered forest resources in the past. Not only that, but with the rapid increase in poaching activities compared to 2008, and the rise in demand for items such as ivory and rhino horn, Virunga Park, it’s inhabitants and rangers continue to fight an ongoing war.
Ranger burning snares in Virunga National Park
Poached Elephant carcass left in the Park
The bodies of Mountain Gorillas killed in the massacre of the Rugendo family in July 2007, Virunga National Park, DR Congo.
To learn more about the conflict or how you can help, please visit their site.