Virunga, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, is Africa’s oldest national park, and home to half the continent’s endangered mountain gorillas.
It is one of the world’s great heritage sites with three thousand square miles of precious flora and fauna.
Since 2010, the British firm SOCO International has been exploring the region for oil, with the permission of the Congolese government.
Activists have campaigned against SOCO, saying the company is putting both the wildlife and livelihoods of the regional people at risk.
The Human Rights Watch has accused the government of DR Congo and the British oil company SOCO International of threatening those who want to protect the Virunga Park, and being behind the shooting of a park ranger.
In April Emmanuel de Merode, Virunga’s chief park ranger was shot in an ambush. Under pressure, SOCO, which denied any involvement in the attack, has agreed not to pursue further oil exploration.
Source: Africa Today