Según WWF, los planes de las petroleras Soco y Dominion afectarán irremediablemente la frágil biodiversidad del Parque Nacional Virunga, ubicado en el Congo, hábitat de unos 200 gorilas de montaña -el 25 % de los que quedan en el planeta.
12 de enero, 2011.- El hábitat de unos doscientos gorilas de montaña -el 25 por ciento de los que quedan en el planeta-, corre peligro inminente de desaparecer, por un proyecto de exploración petrolera en la reserva natural más antigua del África.
Según el Fondo Mundial para la Naturaleza (WWF), los planes de las compañías Soco y Dominion afectarán irremediablemente la frágil biodiversidad del Parque Nacional Virunga, ubicado en la República del Congo, en la frontera con Ruanda y Uganda.
Parque Nacional Virunga
Esta zona ecológica alberga numerosas especies de mamíferos, aves y reptiles como elefantes, hipopótamos, chimpancés, entre otros; cuyo equilibrio natural puede ser seriamente perjudicado si se lleva a efecto el proyecto de exploración petrolera.
Pero sin duda una de las especies que corre más riesgo serían los doscientos gorilas de montaña que habitan esa zona y que representan la cuarta parte de todos los existentes en el orbe.
Frente a esta seria amenaza, la WWF, solicitó al gobierno del Congo que prohíba la exploración petrolera en esa zona ecológica y de esa manera se garantice el respeto por el medio ambiente.
Las compañías Soco y Dominion también han sido notificadas a fin de que respeten la ley y aborten sus planes que perjudicarían el hábitat de miles de animales.
Los habitantes de esa zona también se verían afectados seriamente ya que en la actualidad se benefician del turismo y la actividad pesquera realizados bajo criterios sostenibles.
WWF indicó que unos 30 mil pescadores efectúan sus labores en el lago Edgard, situado dentro de las fronteras del parque.
Gorillas at risk from new oil search in Virunga forest – campaigners
Friday, 07 January 2011 11:55 by RNA Reporter
Kigali: Conservationists are up in arms over planned oil exploration activities due to start in the Virunga forest area by two British oil companies – with warning that will ‘undermine decades of work’ done to preserve the area.
The UK-listed companies SOCO and Dominion plan to drill for oil in the Virunga National Park – a gorilla habitat on the DR Congo side of the massive forest area.
World Wide Fund (WWF) is demanding that the two companies abandon their oil exploration plans – arguing all successful and costly conservation efforts aimed at saving the park’s unique nature will be no more.
The plans “will be costly for the area’s precious and fragile biodiversity, including, chimpanzees, hippos, elephants and other rare species, as well as the local population who benefit from tourism and sustainable fishing inside the national park,” said WWF.
Africa’s oldest national park and the continent’s first World Heritage Site, Virunga is home to many species of mammals, birds and reptiles, and an impressive diversity of landscape and habitats.
It is also home to about 200, almost a quarter, of the earth’s last remaining mountain gorillas, a charismatic large ape species and one of human kind’s closest living relatives.
The campaign group says some 30,000 local fishermen who fish sustainably on the park’s Lake Edward, a Ramsar protected site, will also suffer if drilling plans in the park go ahead.
Company maps seen by international media indicate that SOCO intends to drill through much of the park in areas with some of the highest savannah biomass in the world.
“…it is devastating to see an oil company pursue profit with total disrespect for both the animals and the local Congolese,” said WWF.
The group wants the Congolese government to guarantee and to enforce the existing oil exploration ban in the park designated World Heritage Site and asks the UK-listed companies to respect the law and international convention and to abandon their harmful plans for exploration.
Meanwhile, WWF said Friday in a new study that the number of mountain gorillas, which are a critically endangered species, has increased by more than 26%.
The World Wildlife Fund says it counted 480 mountain gorillas in the Virunga Massif region that spans Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. That is an increase of 100 gorillas since 2003, the organization said.
This increase brings the world population to 786 mountain gorillas, the organization said. http://www.rnanews.com/regional/4637-gorillas-at-risk-from-new-oil-search-in-virunga-forest–campaigners-
12 Jan 2011 – Today is Matembela’s birthday. He has enjoyed nine years in the sunshine of his family’s love, and the clouds of adult life are not yet on his horizon.
A Mountain Gorilla’s infancy and adolescence are usually idyllic. Typically these animals grow up at the centre of a loving, close-knit and stable group in which the senior members devote their lives to caring and providing for their young. The cherished young spend their time cavorting in what amounts to a forest playground, in a beautiful landscape and under a gentle climate.
Matembela is especially lucky to have been born into this particular clan led as it is by the mellowest Silverback in the park: Humba. It’s safe to say that he lacks Kabirizi’s imperial ambition and – knowing that discretion is the better part of valour – he will often move his family when he senses that another group or a Solitary Silverback is nearby. Indeed he’ll go such a long way to avoid a fight that it’s sometimes difficult for the rangers to keep up with him. So, thanks to Humba’s contemplative and placid disposition, his group is rarely disturbed by the violent interactions that are common in other families.
The word Matembela signifies the leafy part of a kind of sweet potato: a strange name you might think for a Mountain Gorilla. But stranger still is the path by which the word travelled from the plant to the animal. In the not too distant past a woman who lived near the park named her baby boy Matembela, after the food she had craved while pregnant. Time passed and the boy grew up; he became a Ranger and lost his life in defence of the park. Now his name and memory live on in this young Mountain Gorilla.
So the word Matembela has served as the name of an indigenous plant, a local man who became a Ranger, and now a gorilla that might well grow up to be a starring Silverback in Virunga’s future. This tragic but wonderful story tells us a lot about life in this national park, and the intensity of the relationship between Virunga’s wildlife and the people responsible for its protection. Happy Birthday Matembela! http://gorillacd.org/blog/ —————————-
December 15th, 2010 by Eddy
The results of the census that was conducted in the spring of 2010 show that the number of Mountain Gorillas living in the tri-national forested area of which Virunga forms a part, has increased by 26.3% over the last seven years – an average growth rate of 3.7% per annum. Of the 480 Mountain Gorillas living in greater Virunga, 14 are Solitary Silverbacks, and the remaining animals live in one or other of the population’s 36 family groups. If you add together the 306 gorillas that we know to have been living in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in 2006, with those living in greater Virunga, and throw in the four orphans living in the Senkwekwe Centre, you get 790 – the global population of a critically endangered species.
That number is unreasonably high. The Mountain Gorilla as a species lives on one of human society’s most active fault lines and the years since the last census have brought spectacular violence to Uganda as well as to the DRC. So, as it seems sensible to assume that there is an inverse ratio between human chaos and gorilla survival, it is astonishing that there are 100 more gorillas living in the forests of the Virunga Mountains than there were in 2003. And the population isn’t just growing; it’s growing faster – the average annual growth of the years between 1989 and 2003 was 1.15%.
More surprising still is that 790 is somewhere between an accurate and a conservative estimate of the total number of Mountain Gorillas. Many of them are habituated which firstly makes them very countable and secondly gives us a great deal of insight into how Mountain Gorillas live. So we can confidently estimate the number of gorillas we haven’t yet seen by looking at the evidence that they leave behind – tracks and nests and so on. But none of this applies to the figure for Bwindi – if you were to project the growth of the Virunga population onto that of Bwindi, then the total number of gorillas would be considerably higher.
People from three impoverished, shaky and often hostile states worked together to conduct this census just as they have worked together every day of the last seven years, sometimes in almost unimaginable conditions, to protect the Mountain Gorilla. They are responsible both for the census and for these extraordinary results.
Congratulations and thanks are due to the people who have worked on the front line to make this happen and to the Ugandan Wildlife Authority, the Institute for the Conservation of Nature in Congo and the Rwanda Development Board for supporting and guiding them. There are also several non-governmental organizations that should be mentioned here: the International Program for Gorilla Conservation (a coalition formed of the African Wildlife Foundation, the World Wide Natural Fund, and International Fauna & Flora); the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology; the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund; and the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project. Thanks also to WWF-Sweden, the Fair Play Foundation, and the General Directorate for International Co-operation in the Netherlands for their financial support. Lastly, thanks to the community of people who care about the Mountain Gorilla and who support us as we build a future for this species.