December 04, 2008

Gorillas in the Congo

As I'm sure many of you know, during the last several months Congalese rebels have been stepping up their attacks along the remote eastern border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition to the tragic human suffering and massive exodus of refugees trying to escape the violence, there is another victim being threatened. The critically endangered mountain gorillas, of which only 740 remain in existence (there are no mountain gorillas in zoos...only lowland gorillas), inhabit the area that is at the epicenter of this conflict. In fact, the rebels recently siezed control of the headquarters for Virunga National Park, one of only two protected areas in the world where mountain gorillas can be found.

Many people have been rightfully concerned that the violence will devastate the few remaining gorilla families. But just last week park rangers made a hopeful discovery on the slopes of the Virunga volcanoes: five healthy baby gorillas and a family thriving in the midst of chaos.

The following video was shot by these rangers as they were conducting a gorilla census last Friday. The images brought a smile to my face and thought they might for you, as well...

Sonja and I are in the beginning stages of planning our trip to East Africa, an adventure we hope to undertake within the next year or so. The highlight of this trip will be a trek into the Parc National des Volcans, located in Rwanda, to spend an hour with a family of gorillas. This video makes me hopeful that the fate of one of the planet's most critically endangered has not already been decided.

1 comment:

dAwN said...

Loved the video..I hope conditions improve in that area. thanks for the post.