DR Congo – Virunga gorilla survey allowed by army and rebels

BBC

Game rangers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have launched a search for critically endangered mountain gorillas not spotted for months.

Gorillas in Virunga National Park

Six families of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Park have been missing since clashes broke out in the area between government and rebel forces.

Park officials said both fighting groups have agreed that rangers could search for primates.

Virunga is home to 480 of the world’s 790 remaining mountain gorillas.

The latest unrest began in April with an army mutiny – and more than 200,000 people in the region have been displaced.

The park’s director Emmanuel de Merode said DR Congo’s army and the M23 rebel group had allowed the rangers to launch search operations for the gorillas in rebel-controlled territory.

“We are delighted and relieved that all sides in the conflict have recognised the need to protect [DR] Congo’s only mountain gorillas,” he said in a statement.

Mr de Merode said 45 rangers would work with local communities to try and track the primates. Read more…

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