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Update on Rugendo family group following July massacre
22 August 2007

The Gorilla Organization’s staff in Democratic Republic of Congo have confirmed that the remains of a fifth gorilla have been found in the Virunga National Park, following the gruesome massacre in July 2007.

The body has been identified as that of Micibiri, an adult female also from the Rugedno family. Micibiri had a young infant when she was killed, who has sadly not been seen since the terrible events of 24 July and rangers warn that it is not possible for the baby to survive without its mother.

Only five members of the Rugendo family remain in the forests of Virunga National Park. Tuver Wundi, the Gorilla Organization’s communications manager in DR Congo reports on the remaining members of the group – Bavukahe, the only female left in the family; Kongomani, an male black back born in 1997; Noel, a juvenile male born in 2003; Baseka, a male black back born in 1997; and Mukunda, the oldest male in the group, born in 1995, who has taken over the role of leader following the untimely death of the Senkwekwe, the group’s magnificent Silverback.

The have been working with the local communities living on the borders of the gorilla national parks for 10 years, and now, more than ever we are seeing their support for the gorillas. Our projects provide local people with the capacity to survive independently of the forest - improving the quality of their lives and reducing the destruction of the gorilla’s habitat. As a result the local people are extremely grateful for all the benefits that gorilla conservation brings - they have truly embraced their role as the guardians of the gorillas habit.

Following these recent killings the Gorilla Organization’s staff in DR Congo have continued to work closely with the local people  - ensuring that as many people as possible are benefiting from gorilla conservation and that the wider community is aware of the immense value that gorillas bring.
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