Save Virunga gives a voice to local communities who depend on the survival of Virunga National Park for their livelihoods. We believe that local communities and civil society have a say in the decision and future of the region. Virunga should be a place where no oil extraction and pollution occurs, a place where people develop sustainable livelihoods based on healthy and intact ecosystems.

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Issues and Local Voices

What is Happening in Virunga and with the Communities?

Virunga National Park

The Virunga National Park  is Africa’s oldest and most biodiverse park. It is a 7800 square km National Park that stretches from the Virunga Mountains in the South, to the Rwenzori Mountains in the North, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering Rwanda and Uganda.

The Oil Threat

The park’s future is threatened: oil has been discovered, and the Congolese government has awarded three concessions for oil exploration, which cover 85% of the park. Oil becomes the most important threat to the park, to the communities and to the ecosystem.

Lake Edward

Lake Edward is one of the Great African Lakes, on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.
The lake was named by the explorer Henry Morton Stanley in honour of Prince Albert Edward, The Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII.

The Oil Company

SOCO International plc is an international oil and gas exploration and production company, headquartered in London. SOCO holds rights on the oil concession in BLOCK V (85%).SOCO’s contract allows them access to a big part of Virunga National Park threatening the park with disruptive seismic tests, forest clearing, underground drilling and the laying of oil pipelines.

The Communities

Virunga’s fauna and flora, as well as the political and security situation in the Great Lakes region are tied closely to the people and to the protection and preservation of this ecosystem. Disruptions in one element will lead automatically to changes in the others.

The local Defenders

Since the beginning of SOCO’s exploration operations in Virunga National Park, Environmental and Human Rights defenders have been fighting for the survival of the park and the respect of community rights. Many of them are facing threats when fighting for Virunga and promoting the sustainable development option for the region and communities.

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Save Virunga

Save Virunga brings out the power of local communities and conveys their messages to protect Virunga and preserve the integrity of its ecosystems for future generations.
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“One of the major tenets behind the creation of a national park, or other protected area, is that it will not fade, but remain in essence beyond the pressures of human society, enjoyed by current generations while being preserved for future ones. The protected area is a gift, in a way, handed from one wise… Read More

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Virunga National Park, the first national park ever established in Africa, sits on the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo and is home to one third of the world’s mountain gorillas, more than 700 bird species, and more than 200 mammal species. It also sits in the backyard of thousands of smallholder farmers,… Read More

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Oil exploration forms a serious threat to the oldest and most precious nature reserve in Africa, Virunga, and to the communities that depend upon its resources. Local communities, local conservationists and human rights organizations oppose the search for oil and defend the right of these local populations to a healthy environment and sustainable development option.… Read More

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This is the oldest National Park in Afrika! Since 1925 the Virunga Park is protected. During our visit we hiked twice to the Gorilla’s and to the top of the Nyiragongo Volcano to see the world’s largest lava lake! Source: CongoSafari

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What is happening to Murchison Falls Protected Area, Uganda’s largest, oldest, and most visited protected area? And how can Virunga, Queen Elizabeth and so many other endangered protected and high biodiversity areas survive oil and infrastructure expansion in the region? Like if it was note enough to have oil drilling in this protected area now… Read More

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During the East African petroleum and exhibition conference held on May 8, 2019 in Mombasa, the minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Irene Muloni, announced the second licensing open bidding of five oil blocks to further Uganda’s commercial interests in oil production. This also included two oil blocks of Ngagi and Turaco that had hitherto… Read More

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Testimonials

What Our Supporters Think

 “For all of the people in the local communities of Virunga: We are listening, and we stand with you to protect Virunga and to protect the people in the Virunga region.”

“The idea of drilling a UNESCO world heritage site for oil is shocking. We have to keep it for future generations and protect the inhabiting species and not let them disappear in front of our eyes. I pray that the organisations and governments can put enough pressure on the DRC to recall any licences for oild explorations.”

“Thanks as always for these updates on the situation with oil exploration in Virunga.”

“A perfect and intelligent representation of the plight of the gorilla and draws all our attention to what is happening to this and so many other endangered species that we say we treasure-do we really?”

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Steps to help local communities: say no to oil in Virunga

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