Conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has kept away tourists. The fighting has also scared away, even killed and maimed mountain gorillas, Virunga National Park’s most important attraction.
On International Gorilla day, a local conservation group took its message to teenagers living near the Virunga National Park.
Fighting between the M23 and government forces has denied rangers access to a key habitat for the gorillas, leaving them unprotected.
Alain MUKIRANYA is the head of Gorilla Ambassadors:
“The choice was made for the children because they are the future managers of this heritage that we are conserving, they are the ones who will benefit from these ecosystems that we are protecting.
“To protect the gorillas, I am going to raise awareness among my entourage, tell them that it is forbidden to hunt gorillas and other animals in the Park, that it is also forbidden to cut down trees.” says the young Munyampamira Guylain, student at Kalangala Institute in Kibumba
International Gorilla Day is celebrated every September 24. Congo’s endangered mountain gorillas continue to be threatened by poaching, deforestation, and even war.