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Volcano Eruption in Virunga National Park Poses No Threat to Gorillas

  • Wednesday, January 6, 2010

VIRUNGA HEARTLAND, DRC--Mount Nyamulagira in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)--at 10,033 feet the tallest volcano in Virunga National Park--erupted violently in the early morning of July 2, 2010.

Four days after the first explosion, rangers report three of four craters continue to spew lava into the park. Although the molten streams have destroyed long swaths of habitat, wildlife loss so far appears limited and there are no reports of human deaths.

The park's 200 highly endangered mountain gorillas, which live on the flanks of the Mikeno Volcano, are located farther east in the park and remain out of harm's way.

A pioneer in mountain gorilla conservation for more than three decades, AWF works to protect the highly endangered mountain gorilla in the three countries in which they are found--the DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda, today conducting those activities through the International Gorilla Conservation Program (a coalition of AWF, Fauna and Flora International, and the World Wide Fund for Nature).

While the park's mountain gorillas are safe, DRC officials are concerned that the lava could reach the populous city of Goma, leading to widespread human suffering, and are monitoring the volcanic activity hourly. The extent of ecological damage to the park can be assessed only once the volcano grows quiet.

AWF will update supporters as more information becomes available.

To learn more about AWF's work in the Virunga Heartland, click here.

To read a news report about the erupting volcano in the DRC, click here.

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