Fighting has once again broken out in the mountain gorilla sector of the Virunga National Park in DR Congo. Helicopters have been firing rockets into the dense forests that provide the critically endangered gorillas with food and shelter and thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes in fear of their lives. Tragically, one park ranger was killed by the rebels and patrols have been seriously disrupted.
At the same time, rangers are struggling to cope with a fresh upturn in poaching, with two infant mountain gorillas having been caught in traps over the past couple of months, one of them fatally.
"It goes without saying that this is extremely worrying," says Gorilla Organization executive director Jillian Miller. "But it's also frustrating, particularly when you contrast it with the very real differences our projects are making in the communities alongside the gorilla habitat.
Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka (below, right) is just one of thousands of people whose lives have been changed as a result of the grassroots projects the Gorilla Organization supports. She first fell in love with the gorillas of her native Uganda through the Wildlife Clubs we help support and we now work closely with the NGO she went on to set up.
Crucially, this emphasis on working with local partners not only provides jobs in some of the poorest parts of Africa, it also gives our work great resilience, meaning our projects can continue, even in the most trying of times.
Your donation can help ensure that, despite the current unrest gripping DR Congo, our vital work protecting gorillas and changing the lives of the people they live alongside can carry on.
- £10 could buy and plant tree saplings that help reforest the gorilla habitat.
- £15 could provide a firewood-saving stove for a rural household. These burn 75% less firewood and charcoal, which means that the pressure on the gorilla habitat is greatly reduced.
- £50 could fund pedal-powered cinema shows to over 1,500 schoolchildren, helping spread the conservation message to the next generation of gorilla guardians.
- £100 could pay for waterproof clothing for a ranger patrol who work on the frontline of gorilla conservation, protecting and monitoring gorilla families.