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Missing Mountain Gorillas

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Missing Mountain Gorillas

Post  whitestarling on Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:37 am

Search for missing mountain gorillas will begin in Congo
24/07/2012 07:34:28
Virunga Rangers will run a check on the 6 missing gorilla families.
Gorilla cease fire
July 2012. Despite of the ongoing civil war in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the government authorities and M23 rebel commanders have authorized the park's rangers to search for the missing gorilla families in rebel-held territory in the Mountain Gorilla Sector of Congo's Virunga National Park. On Tuesday 24 July, a team of 45 rangers will begin a multi-day operation to find and monitor the condition of six mountain gorilla families, some which have not been seen for over 10 weeks.

Machine guns, mortars and combat helicopters
Rangers are required to provide constant protection for the critically endangered mountain gorillas but were forced to evacuate the Gorilla Sector as a result of the intense fighting between the Congolese army and the rebel group on 8 May 2012. Extensive use of heavy machine guns, mortars and combat helicopters blocked all efforts to monitor and protect gorilla families that make their home in the surrounding forests.

Virunga National Park's director Emmanuel de Merode, stated, "We are delighted and relieved that all sides in the conflict have recognized the need to protect Congo's only mountain gorillas, and that once again this country has shown a deep commitment to nature conservation despite the exceedingly difficult political challenges of the moment."

Every gorilla to be ‘audited'
Rangers will work with trackers from the local community in seven teams of six people. After locating the gorilla families, the park's gorilla monitoring teams will individually identify each member of the family. Their health status will also be assessed as mountain gorillas are particularly vulnerable to disease. Once the initial census is completed, ranger teams will continue to patrol the park to remove all snares and protect the gorillas from poachers. The park rangers are the only Congolese government security officers currently operating in rebel-held territory.

Home to 200 gorillas
Virunga National Park's gorilla families live in the mountainous forests of the Virunga Massif. The park is home to approximately 200 mountain gorillas, 25% of the total remaining in the world.

The park closed all tourist visits to the gorillas, chimpanzees, and volcanoes on 1 April when fighting began within the park. Tourist attractions will remain closed until the security situation is stable.

Results expected in August
The Congolese Park Authorities, ICCN, expect to release the results of the census of the 6 gorilla families in the second week of August 2012.


Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment
Eastern Lowland Gorillas Are Disappearing Faster
It is with great hope that mountain gorillas will be rediscovered in Congo. The nation has been an environmental basket case and disaster area. But the eastern lowland gorilla has been disappearing faster. So international conservation work definitely needs to be performed with that.


Posted by: Tim Upham | 27 Jul 2012 21:44:15
Warning some images in this video are upsetting To avoid seeing them Pause the Video at 45sec, and restart at 54sec

WS


Last edited by whitestarling on Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Missing Mountain Gorillas

Post  Laikipia on Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:58 am

Thanks WS. I haven't watched the clip yet, not sure I can cope with distressing images first thing. I really hope these gorillas can be accounted for and found safe.

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Re: Missing Mountain Gorillas

Post  littlewid on Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:17 pm

I am with you Lai, not sure I can watch the video, I simply adore the Gorilla and watching something that is obviously distressing I am not sure I can deal with.
I hope they find the six families and that they are all ok. It is so hard when animals get caught up in fighting but it is also good to know that the Congolese government are determined to find the Gorillas.

Thank you for the news WS and sorry I couldn't watch the video.

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Re: Missing Mountain Gorillas

Post  whitestarling on Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:25 pm

Thats OK Guys, thats why I gave the warning because one image was really bad it upset me. But if you follow the advice that I've put on, on when to stop, and start it you will miss the bad part. The rest of the Video deserves to be watched, because of the sacrifice, the Rangers have made on behalf of the Gorillas over the years.
WS

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Re: Missing Mountain Gorillas

Post  Safari Maiden on Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:58 am

I went onto the Gorillacd site and found this press release from 3rd August:

Congo’s Rangers Locate First Mountain Gorilla Families in Rebel-Held Territory
Twenty park rangers and 15 local trackers began a search Tuesday for the missing mountain gorilla
families in Congo’s Virunga National Park, finding four of the seven gorilla groups. Over two months
of violent fighting between M23 rebels and Congolese armed forces in and around the park’s Gorilla
Sector has prevented rangers from monitoring the critically endangered mountain gorillas in Africa’s
oldest national park, causing concern for their health and safety.
Eight teams spread out through the forests from their base at Bukima Patrol Post searching for
signs of the gorillas, some which have not been seen in over three months. Rangers were able to
locate the Humba, Rugendo, and Munyaga families, and part of the Kabirizi family, which appears to
have split. All seem healthy, but a more detailed assessment and individual counting will take place
in the coming week.
Virunga National Park’s Chief Warden Emmanuel de Merode reported, “While the security conditions remain
precarious for our staff, the fact that we’ve been able to locate a significant number of the missing mountain
gorillas is a strong sign of hope that we will be able to secure this critically important population through the
current period of armed conflict”.
The gorilla monitoring operation, which was scheduled to begin last week following authorization by
government authorities and M23 rebel commanders, was postponed when the conflict escalated on 24 July,
and intense combat in and around the park headquarters prevented the park’s rangers from beginning the
planned search.
“It was truly amazing to see the gorillas again after so long and so much fighting,” said Innocent
Mburanumwe, warden of the park’s Gorilla Sector. “The gorillas circled us and several reached out to touch
and smell us. They had not seen us for a very long time and seemed calm and curious.”
Local trackers have been working with park rangers to locate the gorillas. These same trackers have been
providing critical information on the welfare of the mountain gorillas throughout the ongoing conflict.
Over the past two months Bukima Patrol Post and the surrounding area became a battleground between
M23 rebels and FARDC Congolese army, with M23 currently in control. The patrol post, which has been
damaged in the conflict, was the main starting point for the mountain gorilla tourist treks before the park
closed all tourist attractions in April.
The park’s gorilla monitoring teams will continue the search for the remaining mountain gorilla families if
security remains stable. Rangers will individually identify each member of the family and assess their health
as mountain gorillas are particularly vulnerable to disease. Once the initial census is completed, ranger
teams will continue to patrol the park to remove all snares and protect the gorillas from poachers.
Virunga National Park’s gorilla families live in the mountainous forests of the Virunga Massif. The park is
home to approximately 200 mountain gorillas, 25% of the total remaining in the world.
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Re: Missing Mountain Gorillas

Post  Laikipia on Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:02 am

cheers Thanks for the update SM

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Re: Missing Mountain Gorillas

Post  Doogs on Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:22 pm

Another thread I seemed to miss first time around

Haven't and don't think I will watch the clip.

What was originally posted as bad news has been updated with a more positive report from SM today. Great to hear that they have found a number of the gorillas families, hopefully the rest will be located soon :)
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Re: Missing Mountain Gorillas

Post  Safari Maiden on Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:21 pm

It definitely gives you hope, having found these families they might find the others.

SM
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Re: Missing Mountain Gorillas

Post  whitestarling on Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:38 pm

Do'nt worry about watching the clip Guys, thats why I put the warning on. Really it was to show how much the Rangers, and everyone involved in the Virunga project have done, and sacrificed, to protect, and care for these Gorillas through all the different conflicts, and poching that have plagued the area. Since the war began 120 staff have been killed. If the rest of mankind showed the same commitment to the world wildlife, it would'nt be in the state it is today.
Thanks for the news SM, what a relief that so many have been found, and hopefully the rest of them will be found soon. Lets hope that the fighting stays away, and they get the time to asess thier health.
WS

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Re: Missing Mountain Gorillas

Post  littlewid on Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:13 am

WS I have just watched the video and skipped the times you said and I must admit I am so glad I did watch it. Those rangers really do put their lives on the line to protect the Gorillas and they so need applauding and as you say, if only mankind as a whole cared as much as they do our worlds wildlife would be so much better off.

Thanks so much for the update SM, it is so good to hear that many of the Gorillas have been located, all we need to hear now is that they re all ok and that they are all alive.

At the end of the clip that WS posted there is an address that if you would like you can donate to the Virunga Rangers.

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