Tuesday 24 January 2023 | 18

Democratic Republic of the Congo: mountain gorillas are in danger!

Democratic Republic of the Congo: mountain gorillas are in danger!

Mis à jour le 20 February 2023

In an attempt to return to calm in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Congolese and Rwandan governments have asked for a rebel group to retreat to Mount Sabyinyo. The problem: it is the natural habitat of mountain gorillas, a species that is endemic and weak due to the numerous conflicts that have been shaking up the region for decades. Along with our on-site partner, the NGO Innovation pour le Développement et la Protection de l’Environnement [Innovation for the Development and Protection of the Environment] and around ten other organisations, we are worried about the danger weighing on the lives of these large primates. One Voice is co-signing a letter addressed to the relevant authorities.

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Following the resumption of hostilities in 2022, the “coalition of non-governmental civil society organisations in the environmental, human rights, real estate, and town and country planning sectors” has already sent a letter to the DRC and Rwandan Presidents. In the mountain gorillas’ territory, in the South of the Virunga National Park, on the border between Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC, fights have broken out between Congolese armed forces and the M23 rebel group.

Now, while the governments of the two countries are telling the rebels to withdraw from the same territory, our concern is at its peak. In a new letter to authorities, in French, English, and Spanish, we are joining the collective: we fear that fighters arriving onto the mountain gorillas’ territory creates increased deforestation and pollution which could have serious consequences on their health. Added to these risks are those of poaching and trafficking of baby monkeys, as well as the spread of zoonoses between animals and humans. Finally, the behaviour of the gorillas, traumatised by weapons going off and the migratory movements that have been happening in their territory for months, could be used as a pretext for the systematic killing of these beings who are already so vulnerable. We cannot let this happen without reacting!

Since the profound commitment of scientist Dian Fossey in favour of these majestic primates, we know that mountain gorillas, far from the bad reputation that they’ve been given, are intelligent, sweet animals who are very tender, especially between members of the same family united within their group and are very playful. We have also known for decades that poaching and deforestation dangerously weaken their population which is already limited to the narrow geographical area in which they are still evolving freely, and this is why active protection of these individuals is still essential.

Faced with the danger weighing on mountain gorillas’ lives, and at the risk that the last of them could disappear before our eyes — and under what conditions? — One Voice has signed a letter, sent on Monday 23 January, calling for the protection of these victims in spite of human conflict.

Translated from the French by Joely Justice

Marion Henriet
Hr blog

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Comments 18

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

Phoebus 26 | Thursday 26 January 2023


Isabelle | Thursday 26 January 2023

Merci One voice pour ce combat et tous les autres !
Toujours à vos côtés.

Gigi | Thursday 26 January 2023

Il faut arrêter ces criminels qui tuent les gorilles !!!

YVABRA | Thursday 26 January 2023

Encore une fois merci de défendre ces pauvres bêtes, qui ont le droit de vivre dans leur habitat naturel ,et sauvegarder ainsi la nature !