Wednesday, 17 May 2017

UN LEASHING THE BEAUTY OF VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK

WILDLIFE IN VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK, DR CONGO
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The Virungas are one of the stunning wildlife ecosystems in the world; the region encompasses 3 countries, including Uganda, Rwanda and D.R Congo. These countries have increasingly become travellers' favourite for Gorilla trekking safaris from early 19th Century when most gorilla families in the Virunga region started to be habituated and following gazetting of the most national parks. the parks within the Virunga massif include Mgahinga Gorilla National park in Uganda, Virunga National park in D.R.C,  and Volcanoes National park in  Rwanda.
Virunga National Park is home to the Mountain gorillas, totaling to six mountain gorilla families open for trekking before it was closed in 2012 due to insecurity. Unfortunately, in 2013 the national park faced great challenges, including encroachment of the gorilla habitat by armed groups (the M 23 rebels occupied the Mikeno area of the park and the Congolese army conquered the Rwindi sector).
Increasing poaching also in the savannah area while even the possibility that some areas of the park started to be degazzetted for oil exploration. These very bad news for a park which is UNESCO World Heritage Site (way back since 1979), but became World Heritage Site in Danger since 1994. The maintaining of the status of this Heritage Site is incompatible with the concessions of oil exploration and the Government of Congo in areas inside the national park. In December 2012 a survey carried out in the Mikeno sector counted about 100 Eastern Lowland gorillas with 7 new born; however monitoring became increasingly dangerous for the park officers.
The status of insecurity in the region and the lack of State control has been a serious threat to the conservation of mountain gorillas and even to those rangers who still put their life in danger to protect this park and whose work should be rewarded.
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Currently, a quarter of world's most sought after mountain gorillas are believed to be thriving in the Virunga national park. The other remarkable apes that inhabit the park are; eastern lowland Grauer’s gorillas and chimpanzees, make Virunga the only park in the world to host three taxa of Great Apes. Another prominent resident of Virunga national park is the Okapi, an endangered species that is related to a giraffe but looks like a zebra. Large colonies of hippopotami, forest and savanna elephants, lions, and various elusive bird species can also be viewed in the park during an African safari in Congo.