We've been following the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where rebels took command of Virunga National Park's headquarters. What about the rangers and the mountain gorillas? Jamie from IGCP sent me this news:
"There are still 52 park staff in the Mikeno Sector [the sector of the park where the mountain gorillas live], and 22 rangers monitoring the gorillas. The rangers have continued to go out on a daily basis. Information, however, has had difficulty flowing from the area due to the recent troubles.
Staff of the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP) have been evacuated from DR Congo, as things remain tense between the Congolese army and rebel militia.
Staff were moved from the office in Goma across the border to the town of Gisenyi in Rwanda.
From IGCP's Jamie in Rwanda:
Fighting has broken out again in eastern DR Congo between rebels under General Laurent Nkunda and the Congolese Army. The rebels, who have been hiding out in Virunga National Park, have just taken the park headquarters. The park is home to about 200 of the 720 mountain gorillas.
"Over 50 rangers were forced to flee into the forests and abandon the park station, in fear of their lives," a park statement said.
In the last blog I spoke about animals crossing the border in to Mozambique. Sometimes they don’t come back!!
On Friday October 24th I went in to Mozambique together with Francois and Erin and ended up on the border with the Kruger National Park. About 80 metres from the fence we spotted a lioness that lay motionless against a tree trunk. She didn’t look like she was alive, so we cautiously walked towards her.
Upon arrival we saw that she was dead and had a big wound around her neck.
This week I'm at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona with a delegation from AWF. The WCC is like a Star Trek convention for conservation geeks.
8,000 people from all around the world - policy-makers, NGOs, governments, academics - come together for 10 days of workshops and discussions that guide global conservation issues. Issues like biodiversity, illegal wildlife trade, livelihoods, and global climate change.