Refugees: Stripping Gorilla Habitat

Poaching isn’t the only problem facing the Gorillas in Zaire. Thousands of Rwandan refugees have been living in camps near the National Park, some of them responsible for killing rebel gunmen.

Zairan soldiers tried to force them back into Rwanda, but they only succeeded in driving them into the mountains of the Park, where they have subsequently settled. Here they have already destroyed 18 km2 of the Gorillas forest habitat by cutting down trees for firewood and to build huts etc.

This dangerous political unrest has also caused the number of tourists visiting the Park to decline dramatically, more than halving the income used for the upkeep of the Park such as rangers wages. This could very soon lead to loss of protection for these gentle beasts, and poachers will be free to kill as they please.

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