Are Congo's gorillas safe?
Mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park were seen in December 2008 by park rangers for the first time in more than a year.
According to Emmanuel de Merode, the park’s director, the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) has been allowed to re-enter and work in the southern part of the park, thanks to successful negotiations with rebels who took control of the area last September.
“We were very worried about the mountain gorillas as we had not had any contact with them for over a year, but ICCN rangers have already seen many of the mountain gorilla families and most of them seem to be doing well. We are continuing our census of the gorillas and reinstating our anti-poaching operations.”
Although this is heartening news for the southern sector of the park, the central and eastern areas remain very unstable. Because of the ongoing fighting, over half of the ICCN’s staff working in Virunga National Park, are now living in temporary sites, leaving the highly-endangered mountain gorillas in a precarious situation.