New plans to protect survivors of gorilla massacre
Friday 17 August 2007
New plans are being put into action to protect the gorillas that survived the recent slaughter in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park, the images of which shocked the world. Your donations are urgently needed.
ZSL, working with other conservation organisations in the area, has formulated plans to safeguard the remaining gorillas and to establish a fund for the work that is essential for their continued survival.
A fund has been established to pay for the intensive ongoing protection work, but currently there is only enough financial support to maintain efforts for the next three months. More money is desperately needed to ensure their ongoing protection. Donations will go directly to help protect the gorillas in the field.
A three-month emergency action plan has been developed, which includes the following key measures:
- Round-the-clock monitoring for the 6 remaining gorilla families in the Mikeno sector. Teams of park rangers are working in relay to ensure that all the remaining families are protected from attacks twenty four hours a day.
- Increased patrols of critical areas by thirty guards mobilised from other parts of the park
- Census of the remaining gorillas by the end of August to ensure an accurate, up-to-date understanding of the current situation
- Ongoing daily searches by rangers for the missing female gorilla and her infant
- Ongoing care for the orphan gorilla, Ndeze
- An external investigation into the massacre by UNESCO, an independent organisation.
The bodies of one silverback and three female gorillas were discovered on Sunday July 22nd in Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo. Park rangers found the infant of one of the females, an injured baby called Ndeze, on the 24th, clinging to her older brother. Ndeze is now being cared for by vets in the town of Goma, just outside the park. She was severely dehydrated and traumatised. A mother and baby from the same family of gorillas are still missing and hopes for their survival are diminishing rapidly. A previous orphan from a similar gorilla killing in the park in June, Ndakasi, is also being cared for in Goma.
Dr Noelle Kumpel, ZSL’s Bushmeats and Forests Conservation Programme Manager, said, “The massacre of four mountain gorillas was a devastating tragedy and it is now essential that we now provide constant protection to the remaining families. Shockingly, this is not the first time that gorillas in the park have been slaughtered in this way and we are calling on the public to support our appeal for funds to help us ensure that it does not happen again.”