Covid19 Lockdown a blow to Mountain Gorillas in Congo
As covid19 is not only affecting people but also the protection of endangered Mountain gorillas in Congo when rebel militia attacked the park and killed 12 rangers protecting Mountain Gorillas in the Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo. All visits were suspended due to Corona virus and these rebels are taking advantage of the situation. This is affecting gorilla safaris in the region. Even other parks should be on the look out to protect all national parks to top poaching that may come up as result od covid19 lockdowns.
The park in eastern DRC, home to critically endangered Mountain Gorilla as well as hundreds of other rare species, has faced repeated incursions and attacks by local armed groups.
About 60 fighters from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda a Hutu rebel group, ambushed a convoy of civilians that was being protected by 15 rangers, said Cosma Wilungula, the director of the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation. Many others were seriously injured, he said.
There was no immediate confirmation from the Virunga park of the incident or casualties.
The park has been repeatedly hit by violence. It was shut to tourists for eight months in 2018 after a series of attacks on staff but reopened after a thorough review of security precautions and reinforcement of the 700 rangers deployed to keep animals and visitors safe.
The park, in North Kivu province, has a reputation as one of the most dangerous conservation projects in the world. It faces multiple security threats including illegal charcoal production, smuggling and poaching, as well as from the Mai Mai militia.
Founded in 1925 by Belgian colonial authorities, the park struggled in the immediate aftermath of the country’s independence in 1960 but flourished under President Mobutu Sese Seko, who took power in 1965.
The park suffered further during the civil war that followed Mobutu’s chaotic fall in 1997. Virunga’s mountain gorilla population declined to 300. It has since risen to more than 1,000, and the numbers of other animals such as forest elephants are also rising.
In 2007 a partnership was established between charities funded by private donors, the EU and