National Geographic and Virunga: Inside the Fight to Save One of the World’s Most Dangerous Parks

Virunga, one of the wonders of Africa, is home to rare gorillas—and plagued by violence and economic tension. BY ROBERT DRAPER PHOTOGRAPHS BY BRENT STIRTON This story appears in the July 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine. When the ranger studied the ragtag crew he was supervising, seven young men repairing a rugged road that… Read More

The Guardian – ‘We know we may be killed’: The Rangers Risking their Lives for Virunga’s Gorillas

The huge national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most dangerous conservation projects in the world. But thanks to the efforts of a committed force of rangers, populations of endangered species are recovering and locals say the park offers hope for the whole region. Jason Burke in Virunga national park,… Read More

Good News for Virunga: UN moves towards Recognising Human Right to a Healthy Environment

Formal recognition would help protect those who increasingly risk their lives to defend the land, water, forests and wildlife, says the UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment. By Jonathan Watts Global environment editor It is time for the United Nations to formally recognise the right to a healthy environment, according to the… Read More

Defending the Environment has Become a Suicide Mission in Many Parts of the World #Virunga

“Almost four environmental defenders a week killed in 2017” Environmental Warriors Environmental activists around the globe are being killed as they struggle to protect fragile ecosystems. From Brazil to Congo, the Philippines to Tanzania, the toll is heaviest in countries beset by corruption and weak enforcement, where entrenched government and business elites break laws with… Read More

Virunga and The Ecological Costs of War: Conflict a Consistent Killer of African Megafauna

Hope for Virunga and all these irreplaceable places and protected areas affected by conflict and war.  A new study highlights that  “sustained conservation activity in conflict zones—and rapid interventions following ceasefires—may help to save many at-risk populations and species.” Researchers report that war has been a consistent factor in the decades-long decline of Africa’s large mammals.… Read More

Difficult Times for Virunga and its Hydropower Plants: Time to Get the Facts Right !

Virunga National Park is under threat and witnessing an increase in attacks and misinformation around its development projects in North Kivu. Everything started a few months ago with recurrent militia attacks in and around the construction site of its third Hydropower plant of 12,8 MW close to Lubero. Making it very difficult for the park… Read More

Hot off the Press : Land Grabbing and Illegal Distribution of Land in Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on the border of Uganda and Rwanda. Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park and is also the continent’s most biologically diverse protected area. The park’s 7800 square kilometers (3000 square miles) includes forests, savannas, lava plains, swamps, erosion valleys,… Read More

Park Rangers Under Attack: 9 killed in DRC in 2016 – the highest number in Africa #WRD

#WORLDRANGERDAY2017 – PARK RANGERS UNDER ATTACK IN THE DRC    10 defenders killed in the DRC in 2016 – the highest number in Africa   9 of those killed were park rangers   The DRC government is threatening those campaigning against abuses in the natural resource sector Natural predators are the least of Rodrigue Katembo’s worries… Read More

The Congo’s Midas Curse: Nature and People

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

Park and Species Endangered: The Virunga Landscape in Danger

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

Creating Hope: Development is Ending Wildlife Crime in Virunga

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

1.000 Reasons Save Virunga: Congo’s Heritage

“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