On the other side of the DR Congo, out east where things are grim, there is some good news for mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park.
70 rangers have returned to their posts, with the intention of resuming monitoring activities, says the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP).
An IGCP meeting with representatives of General Laurent Nkunda’s militia, the CNDP, on November 14th was followed by additional meetings between IGCP, the Congolese Wildlife Authorities ICCN, and the CNDP the following week, leading to this unprecedented agreement.
Negotiations with Nkunda, whose forces control the Mikeno sector where the gorillas live, and other Park stakeholders led to the breakthrough, with monitoring to resume imminently.
With negotiations for peace in the region under way and Nkunda’s forces pulling back to some positions held before the current flare up, a clear, albeit fragile, path has now opened for rangers eager to get back to their posts.
IGCP has pledged continuous support for our Park partners, and will work towards building ranger staffing and monitoring activities back up to full strength.
Virunga National Park Director Emmanuel de Merode has also worked in concert with IGCP throughout the process, and stepped in to join IGCP staff in personally accompanying the returning rangers on their journey back to headquarters.
Paul began with AWF based in Nairobi for a year, before moving to Washington DC. Paul has worked at the Madrid Aquarium and at The Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands outside San Francisco. He was born in New Zealand but grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Paul received his B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Management at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. He is a member of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leadership initiative and is working on a conservation campaign to combat the illegal trade of Asian pangolins. Paul enjoys photography, travel, hikes in the woods, music, and nyama choma.
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