6 guards killed for protecting gorillas

Here's another premeditated act of violence that took this group of guards.  In the last two decades, no less than 170 vigilantes and activists of Virunga National Park have died
6 guards killed for protecting gorillas

Last update: 03 October, 2018

6 guards were killed for protecting gorillas

There are still people who want to protect gorillas and other wild animals on the planet. Unfortunately, this time, the tragedy took place at the legendary Virunga National Park, the oldest protected area in Africa.

Five rangers and a driver were killed in an ambush while protecting mountain gorillas. These legendary primates live in the impenetrable forests of the Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. These primates have been the stars of films and multiple studies, and they are one of the most remote and interesting wild animal populations in the world.

The Virunga guards were protecting an area that was once very dangerous due to high poaching activity. However, upon the arrival of Dian Fossey is when patrols against poachers truly became effective. These patrols then became a very risky job for the guards.

Virunga: dangerous for animal defenders

The event that occurred in this national park wasn’t the first time this has ever happened. In the last 20 years, more than 170 forest guards and other activists and employees have died. The most well-known case was probably the primatologist Dian Fossey, who was found dead in her shop with a machete wound.

In August of 2017, there were five guards killed by the militia. They were victims of a premeditated ambush that was exclusively directed to the Natural Park workers. Unfortunately, the lives of people who were dedicated to protecting the gorillas and other animal species in the park were taken.

These guards are fully aware that their work could cost them their lives, but they were committed, no matter what. They wanted to protect the gorillas and the natural environment they live in. The park has a huge impact on the wealth and future of the area, which is why locals consider them to be heroes.

Men patrolling a nature reserve

Awareness of protecting this nature reserve would be impossible without the work of Dian Fossey. Many of the current guards are the children of poachers who hunted gorillas, chimpanzees, and other animals, in order to sell them in the black market. Now, due to moral value, these poachers’ children don’t hesitate to fight to protect their national treasure. 

The danger of Virunga: poachers, wars and coltan

Poaching is one of the main park issues. There are also dormant Virunga volcanoes close to one of the bloodiest war zones that humanity has ever known. 

Poaching is increasingly being controlled in this area. It has virtually been reduced to zero when it comes to gorillas and other primates. Unfortunately, people still hunt gorillas for bushmeat.

Chimp screaming

The Virunga Park spokesman, Joel Malembe, reported that the incident occurred between Ishasha and Lulimba, near the border of Uganda. It’s suspected that the self-defense group ‘Mai Mai’ were the attackers.

These deaths are just the tip of the iceberg of the previously mentioned war conflict.  Unfortunately, these conflicts drive away multiple funding routes for the national park. Also, oil exploitation is another danger that affects the forest. It’s gotten to a point where western companies have pressured the park to give them land in order to exploit them economically. 

Unfortunately, these protectors are necessary to ensure the security of African nature. That’s why it’s important to appreciate their work and thank them for risking their lives for defenseless animals. It’s also important to punish the terrible acts of war in the Congo, which has cost the lives of young guards.