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13 elephants killed in the Virunga National Park in 13 days
09 May 2008

Between 14 and 27 April, 13 elephants were killed in the Virunga National Park, DR Congo, home to some of the world’s last remaining Mountain gorillas. This intensive poaching is devastating the national park and has renewed existing fears that as long as the armed forces continue to operate inside the forest, the national park and its inhabitants continue to be in danger.

This situation is extremely worrying for conservationists and ecologists. Elephants reproduce slowly and the loss of such a large number of individuals could have grave consequences for the elephant population and the ecosystem of the national park as a whole.

Many of the poached tusks have been confiscated by the Congolese wildlife authority (ICCN) and are being kept at the museum of the Central Bank. However, it is still unclear as to where the demand for the tusks in coming from, or where the tusks would have been sent to had the poaching ring not been interrupted.

Armed soldiers from FDLR (Rwandan Hutus involved in the Rwandan genocide), FARDC (Congolese armed forces), and PARECO (the coalition of Congolese patriotic resistance), who occupy areas in and around the Virungas National Park, have been identified as responsible for the poaching of elephants.

In the coming weeks the Ecologists on North Kivu will stage a march around Goma in protest of the killing of these defenceless animals.

Elephant deaths

-14th April: 1 elephant is killed by the Rwandan FDLR at Kasoso, Lulimbi sector, east of the Park
-15th April: 1 elephant is killed at Kalingirwa, Rutshuru Hunting area (DRC)
-20th April: 1 elephant is killed at Kahumiro, Rwindi by the 9th brigade of FARDC
-21st April: 1 elephant is killed at Kahumiro, Rwindi by PARECO
-22nd April: 2 elephants are killed at Kinyamuyagha, Rwindi by FDLR and the 9th brigade of FARDC
-22nd April: 1 elephant is killed at Kahumiro, Rwindi by PARECO
-23rd April: 2 elephants are killed at Kinyamuyagha, Rwindi the 9th brigade of FARDC
-23rd April: 1 elephant is killed in the plain of Kibirizi, Rwindi by FDLR
-24th April: 1 elephant is killed at Kahumiro, Rwindi by PARECO
-24th April: 1 elephant is killed at Kahunga, DRC by the 15th brigade of FARDC
-27th April: 1 elephant is killed at Busendo, Rwindi by the 15th brigade of FARDC
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