Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Congo rebels seize gorilla park

I was just about to post about this BBC News Diary article Protecting mountain gorillas, when Iain Purdie (currently walking 1000 Miles across Europe) emailed me with the shocking news that rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo have now taken control of large parts of the Virunga National Park. This is devastating news (BBC: Congo Rebels Seize Gorilla Park) and I fear for the future of the Mountain Gorilla at this time.
The army says it has killed at least 28 troops loyal to rebel General Laurent Nkunda in the latest fighting in eastern DR Congo.

Some 170,000 people have fled the area this year, says the UN refugee agency.

"If anything happens to the mountain gorillas now, there is nothing we can do," said Norbert Mushenzi of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN).

"As of today, the sector is no longer under my control and we have been rendered powerless by these actions."

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