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Planting trees for the future of the national park
17 December 2007

On 19 November 2007, 20,000 trees were distributed to the population living around Kahuzi Biega National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, in the Gorilla Organization’s annual tree distribution ceremony organised in partnership with the Pole Pole Foundation (POPOF). The trees, which had been nurtured for six months in the POPOF tree nursery, will be re-planted by local people on their farms to form part of the buffer zone for the gorilla national park.

The ceremony was launched by the environment minister for South Kivu Province, in the presence of the regional director of the Congolese Wildlife Authority, HonorĂ© Mashagiro and Henry Chiruza, the Gorilla Organization’s DRC programme Manager.

Thousands of people living in the Kabara region gathered in the grounds of the ANGA environment school to enjoy the ceremony, which included conservation themed songs and poems composed by pupils from the school.  

Tuver Wundi, the Gorilla Organization’s communications manager, present at the ceremony said “the atmosphere of the celebrations could be read on everyone’s faces. To receive a tree to plant in the region, is to prepare for the future – it brings hope to us all”.

To launch the plantation of the trees the Minister called the population to protect the nature and richness of Kahuzi Biega National Park; Henry Chiruza and Honoré Mashagiro joined the local communities to plant four trees next to the school; and John Kahekwa, the director of POPOF, thanked the Gorilla Organization for making it possible for the population to receive these trees.

The celebrations concluded as local people collected their trees, securing them in their baskets to be transported back to their farms. In the coming years the trees will grow and provide a source of wood for the local communities, acting as a buffer zone to the gorillas’ forest home.
for further information or photographs contact:

David Hewitt, Communications Manager
The Gorilla Organization, 110 Gloucester Avenue, London, Nw1 8HX
Tel: 020 7916 4974
Mobile: 07801 971123
david@gorillas.org
www.gorillas.org