Worsening Crisis in the DRC Imperils Mountain Gorillas

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KIGALI, DRC--Rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have seized the Headquarters of Virunga National Park and the sector that is home to the area's highly endangered mountain gorillas after intense fighting with the Congolese army.

The fighting between rebel forces led by General Laurent Nkunda and the Congolese army has led to chaos in the local communities as well, with more than 100,000 people reported to have fled the area. The African Wildlife Foundation, through the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP), a coalition with Fauna & Flora International and the Worldwide Fund for Nature, earlier this month provided emergency assistance to park rangers, guides, administrative staff and their families evacuating the area.

IGCP staff continues to monitor the situation, while calling on emergency funding to support its work in the DRC.

Virunga National Park, together with Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, is home to more than half of the world's highly endangered mountain gorillas.

The recent violence continues a long simmering conflict that includes Nkunda's rebels, the National Congress for the People's Defense (CNDP), the armed forces of the DRC (FARDC) and militias formed mainly by Rwandan rebels (FDLR) who fled to the Congo after the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

AWF has worked for more than three decades to protect the world's highly endangered mountain gorilla. To learn more about our work in this area, click here.

To read a recent news report about the conflict, click here.

To support mountain gorilla rangers in the DRC, click here.