Friday, November 14, 2008

Apes face doom as guards flee Congo | The Sun |News

Apes face doom as guards flee Congo The Sun News:

TWO hundred rare silverback mountain gorillas are facing slaughter in the Congo after rangers protecting them fled the civil war.

The endangered great apes — one of man’s closest relatives — live in the Virunga National Park.
But it is now in an area of the Democratic Republic controlled by rebels led by General Laurent Nkunda.

The Rumangabo Park headquarters, from which gorilla conservation operations were controlled, was overrun last month.

More than 50 wildlife rangers fled for their lives to regional capital Goma.
The gorillas were last night at the mercy of ruthless hordes happy to slaughter them for bush meat or their pelts — or even for fun.

Nkunda’s men sparked an international outcry last year when they shot dead ten mountain gorillas, including two silverbacks.

There are just 720 silverbacks left on Earth.

The situation is doubly grave because mountain gorillas — which weigh more than 30 stone — have never been able to breed in captivity.

Samantha Newport, of the Virunga National Park, said: “The ones we have in the wild, that’s it. When they’re gone, they’ve gone. No one is looking after them.”

"There are just 720 silverbacks left on Earth."

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