A devastating event happened earlier this year when armed gunmen entered Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and killed five endangered mountain gorillas.
National Geographic has recently made a video about this tragic event. You can view the video here.
Further devastating news came on the 2nd November when two rangers were ambushed by rebels while out on an anti-poaching patrol. Tragically one ranger died, raising the number of rangers killed on duty to over 150.
This year alone, it is estimated that ten gorillas have been killed with two still remaining missing. The areas in which the gorilla families inhabit have been inaccessible since the beginning of September due to the current conflicts in the region between the rebels and the army, and the safety of the gorilla families has been uncertain.
Last week two patrol rangers were allowed into the park and managed to see the Humba and Kabirizi families. Although specific identification of individuals was not possible, reports stated that numbers of each family seemed to add up. It is critical however that the rangers be allowed back in the area to conduct a full survey of the all the gorilla families, but whether they will be allowed entry again…only time will tell.
Two men suspected of the execution-style killing of gorillas from the Virunga National Park in July are awaiting trial in Goma. A further two people are also being held after being found with a dead mountain gorilla infant that was allegedly going to be trafficked in September. These men will be charged with violating Article Eight under the Nature Conservation Law, Number 69-041 of August 1969. As mountain gorillas are highly endangered, if found guilty, the men can serve up to 15 years in prison.
Rangers from the Virunga National Park keep daily blogs about their lives and the gorillas they put their life on the line to protect, visit these blogs by following the link: Https://www.wildlifedirect.org/blogAdmin/gorilla.
To donate to ZSL’s gorilla conservation project, which is funding extra patrols in the park please visit Https://www.zsl.org/shop/donations/gorilla-donations/