This may take some time...
Since we reported the sighting and identification of the Rugendo Family and the Mapuwa Family last month we have been observing the behaviour of the gorillas daily. Trackers and Rangers go out in teams every morning to locate the families and make note of any health and behavioral issues. They also photograph and video the gorillas when this kind of documentation is required. Read the full story »
More good news before the end of 2008!
We have located and identified each individual in the Mapuwa family - and there are now 14 individuals, up from 12 during the August 2007 census. Read the full story »
This is Pierre. We have received news from our sources that tourists are once again crossing the border into the Congo to visit the gorillas in the Mikeno sector. Nkunda’s rebels are charging tourists to take them to see the Mapuwa and Lulengo groups of habituated gorillas.
We are worried that the rebel “rangers” are not following the proper guidelines, such as observing a minimum distance of 7 meters to avoid disease transmission. We hear that last Friday a group of 20 tourists came, and the week before it was 22. Again, that is above the maximum limits allowed in legal tourism.
We assume that the people choosing to visit the gorillas this way either could not reserve a place to visit the gorillas in Rwanda, or decided they would prefer to pay less. We urge tourists to think twice before visiting the Congo gorillas at the moment, as their dollars will be going straight into the pocket of the rebels. Remember that these are the very same rebels who killed and ate two silverbacks last year.
Mambo and Dunia
As several of our regular readers have pointed out, the July edition of National Geographic magazine features a front cover story about the gorilla killings last year. You may remember that Mark Jenkins and Brent Stirton came to visit us in February. The article is also on their website, along with an interview with Diddy and Innocent that I recorded with them last month. There will also be a documentary called “Gorilla Murders” on the National Geographic Channel on the 1st July.
Everyone here hopes that all this coverage will renew international concern and interest in the preservation of Virunga National Park.