Friday, June 03, 2005

MOUNTAIN GORILLAS - Congolese awarded for saving apes from militias

Reuters AlertNet has this news on the Congolese park guards who have been given an award in recognition of their work.
Congolese park rangers who risked or even lost their lives to save mountain gorillas, pygmy chimpanzees and white rhinos as war raged around them have been honoured two years after the conflict officially ended.

More than 40 park guards, bush trackers and local chiefs -- many of whom fought off militia fighters, bandits and poachers in Congo's lawless east -- were presented with the Abraham Conservation Award in Kinshasa late on Wednesday.
Mokilibe Atakuru and Likambo Masikini, two park guards from the remote Garamba National Park on Congo's border with Sudan, were posthumously recognised for their efforts to help to try to save the world's last remaining northern white rhinos living in the wild.

They were both killed in May last year during a gun battle with heavily armed poachers from the Janjaweed militia -- accused of raping and killing in Darfur -- who swept into Congo on horseback from Sudan to hunt down the rhino for their horns.