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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Some say the planet is sick and humans are the virus, it is undeniably we as a species have destroyed this beautiful planet at an alarming rate. Putting aside global warming and climate change, no species is as greedy as the human race, we take more than we need and leaves a trail of destruction.… Read More

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Virunga National Park was created in 1925, contained within 790,000 hectares the greatest biological diversity of any park in Africa: from steppes, savannas and lava plains, swamps, lowland and montane forests to volcanoes and the unique giant herbs and snowfields of Rwenzori over 5,000m high. Thousands of hippopotamuses lived in its rivers, its mountains are a… Read More

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Virunga National Park is a major source of revenue for armed groups that exploit illegally its resources such as wildlife, minerals and charcoal. The trafficking of all these natural resources remains one of the underlying causes of instability in Eastern DR-Congo and a curse for nature and people. — Diamonds and gold — vast natural resources… Read More

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Extract from Global Witness last investigation on Uganda’s mining sector, a story on endemic corruption and mismanagement profiting at the expense of the Ugandan people, environment and economy. Almost half the world’s remaining mountain gorillas are at risk as mining threatens Bwindi and Rwenzori national parks, part of the famous Virunga ecosystem – this risks… Read More

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Read here UNEP’s blog where Emmanuel de Merode writes about the work being done in Virunga to end wildlife crime through development. In a seemingly dark and tumultuous world, I find the greatest beacon of hope here in the Virunga National Park, eastern Congo. Hope that, through the efforts of those working to protect the… Read More

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“The Congo is a land far away, yet our histories are so closely linked. We have thrived from a lopsided relationship, yet we are utterly blind to it. The price of that myopia has been human suffering on an unimaginable scale.” Dan Snow

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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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