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Humanitarian Crisis in Gorilla Habitat

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While world media has been wringing its hands over inconclusive studies about the Ebola virus in lowland gorilla populations, the brave rangers who have been the first line of defense for the mountain gorilla have been caught in the middle of clashes between the Dissident General Laurant Nkunda and the FARDC near Jomba, DRC. The rangers and their families had to evacuate and many of them sought refuge in Uganda for nearly a week.
Ranger Patrol/photo by Robert Muir

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I just returned from Gisenyi, Rwanda where I met Robert Muir of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, Project Leader and Country Representative in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. While world media has been wringing its hands over inconclusive studies about the Ebola virus in lowland gorilla populations, the brave rangers who have been the first line of defense for the mountain gorilla have been caught in the middle of clashes between the Dissident General Laurant Nkunda and the FARDC near Jomba, DRC. The rangers and their families had to evacuate and many of them sought refuge in Uganda for nearly a week, where some of them received medical attention.

Due to the general lack of security, 15 families (80 people including rangers, their wives and their children) have had to evacuate. As of yesterday afternoon (10 December 2006), they have all taken refuge at Rumangabo but are without food, clothes or shelter. Thanks to a kind donation from the International Primate Protection League, Muir has been able to purchase rations and cooking pots to feed these families for the next week, but more funds are desperately needed to help pay for medical costs, purchase clothes and build temporary shelters to accommodate the families. Depending on how long they need to remain at Rumangabo, Muir may also need to purchase more food.

Financial aid is needed so that Muir can support these brave rangers and their families during this crucial time.

Although it incurs a cost, the quickest way to get funds to the field is through a direct Western Union transfer to Goma which would allow Muir to purchase the necessary food, clothes and equipment as well as cover medical expenses.

Muir's credentials are impeccable and any donations will go directly to help these brave rangers who have been protecting the mountain gorillas in the Virungas.

Email: robertmuir@fzs.org
Web: www.zgf.de
Blog: http://www.wildlifedirect.org/congo-rangers

 

Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota, New Orleans and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill (more...)
 

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

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