DRC rangers search for missing gorillas

2012-07-24 21:48


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dakar - Park rangers in eastern Congo hope to begin searching this week for dozens of mountain gorillas who have not been seen since rebels took control of an area where the critically endangered primates live, officials said on Tuesday.

Virunga National Park is home to a quarter of the world's estimated 800 remaining mountain gorillas, but rangers had to evacuate the area in May because of heavy fighting between a recently formed rebel group and government forces.

Park director Emmanuel de Merode said he was relieved that the rebels had agreed to allow a team of 45 rangers back into the park to conduct a census. Park officials plan to release their findings next month.

However, the search for the park's gorillas had to be pushed back on Tuesday because of new fighting.

"We have had to delay 24 hours because of the shelling that took place this morning," he said by telephone from the park. "There is very heavy fighting around the park headquarters."

Rangers killed

Earlier this month, family members of rangers were evacuated from the park's headquarters about 50km from the city of Goma because of security concerns.

More than 130 park rangers have been killed during violent conflicts in eastern Congo in the aftermath of neighbouring Rwanda's 1994 genocide. One attack alone last year left three park rangers and five Congolese soldiers dead.

In 2007, the fragile habitat in the Central African highlands also became off-limits for more than a year because of violence, though a subsequent census later found that the park's gorilla population had grown during that period.

A myriad of militias and rebel groups plague mineral-rich eastern Congo, and the violence intensified earlier this year with the formation of a new group calling itself M23. The fighting has forced more than 200 000 people from their homes since April.

A report by UN experts accuses neighbouring Rwanda of helping to create, recruit for and arm the new rebel group, a charge that Rwanda has vigorously denied.

Earlier this month, the leaders of Congo and Rwanda agreed in principle to back a neutral international armed force to combat Congo's newest rebellion and other fighters in the area.

- AP
Read more on:    drc  |  central africa

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Thirty and still single? There’s hope!

Are you thirty and still single, without even a hint of a prospect on the horizon? Then read this!



SA’s Playboy Playmate of the year in action!
12 lies everyone accepts as fact
Hottie of the day: Charlotte
Breakup text goes viral and it’s hilarious!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

Good Morning, Mr Mandela by Zelda la Grange

Good Morning, Mr Mandela tells the extraordinary story of how a young woman had her life, beliefs, prejudices and everything she once believed in utterly transformed by the greatest man of her time. Now R221. Pre-order now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


It may be hard to stay cool, calm and collected. Your emotions can get quite heated in the moment. You may benefit from finding a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.