ZSL conservationists celebrate SOCO's withdrawal

CONSERVATIONISTS at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) are relieved to receive news that UK oil exploration company, SOCO, has agreed to withdraw all activity from World Heritage Sites – including Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

ZSL began field conservation projects in Virunga in 2002, which is home to an array of species including the critically endangered mountain gorilla, hippo and okapi.

A ranger being trained with a camera trap in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, part of the EDGE's Okapi conservation work.
A ranger being trained with a camera trap in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, part of the EDGE's Okapi conservation work.
 

Conservation Director at ZSL, Jonathan Baillie, says: “As Africa’s oldest national park, Virunga is a priceless habitat for some of the world’s most endangered species, yet recent activity by oil exploration companies such as SOCO has been threating its very existence.

“SOCO’s behaviour has been truly unacceptable and I am relieved to see that they have finally made a responsible decision and will stop working in all World Heritage Sites – including Virunga.

“But it doesn’t end here. We now need to ensure that all exploration companies adopt the same policy and stop exploiting and destroying these areas of incredible environmental importance; before it’s too late.”

Read more about ZSL's okapi conservation work in DRC.

Find out more about ZSL's World Heritage work

More news from ZSL

Nepal stockpile burning

Destroying over 4,000 seized items from 48 species sends powerful message to traffickers

Angel shark

Vital information on Angelshark ecology used to inform the conservation of one of Europe’s most endangered sharks

Matthew Hatchwell

Former WCS Europe CEO to oversee Zoological Society of London field projects in over 50 countries.