Congo guerrillas agree to protect rare gorillas
January 24, 2007
Rebels in eastern Congo have agreed to stop hunting mountain gorillas according to a report from the Associated Press.
The agreement comes after two endangered silverback mountain gorillas were killed and eaten by rebel forces in Congo’s Virunga National Park, a protected area that has been heavily impacted by civil strife in the region, starting with the exodus of refugees from Rwanda in 1994 and continuing on through Congo’s bloody civil war. During this time, refugee put pressure on the Virunga’s forests and wildlife for fuel wood and food, while park rangers were been targeted by soldiers and rebels. Africa Conservation Fund, a London-based conservation group, says that 97 Virunga National Park rangers have died on duty since 1996.
Violence aside, gorillas are Virunga’s most famous residents. The park, which sits near the border with Rwanda, supports 380 of the world’s remaining 700 mountain gorillas. Another 320 mountain gorillas are found in neighboring Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
This article uses information from the Associated Press.