The following is an excerpt from Nick Visser | April 12, 2018 | Huffingtonpost.com |
Five wildlife rangers and a driver were killed in a militant attack on the Congo’s Virunga National Park this week as they guarded the region’s critically endangered mountain gorillas.
The park employees, aged 22 to 30, were ambushed and killed in what wildlife officials said was the deadliest such attack in recent history. Another ranger was injured. At least 170 rangers have been killed in the past two decades.
“We are profoundly saddened by the loss of our colleagues yesterday,” Emmanuel de Merode, Virunga’s chief warden, said in a statement. “Virunga has lost some extraordinarily brave rangers who were deeply committed to working in service of their communities. It is unacceptable that Virunga’s rangers continue to pay the highest price in defense of our common heritage and we are devastated that their lives have been cut short in this way.”
Officials blamed a militant group known as the Mai Mai.
Virunga, Africa’s oldest national park, is home to about half of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas. Park rangers are tasked with defending the great apes and hundreds of other species from habitat destruction and bushmeat poachers, often working for about $250 a month and with limited supplies.
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