Category Archives: Gorillas

Kill Trade to save endangered species

In an article titled “Another inconvenient truth” (a convenient title I must admit), Elizabeth Bennet states that “A continuing global failure to crack down on a booming trade in body parts from endangered animals could soon cause some species – including rhinos and tigers — to “wink out” of existence. We have been saying in WildlifeDirect that elephants and rhino’s are particularly vulnerable.

But a couple of recent developments, including a recent United Nations decision to make combating wildlife crime a core concern, and a “potentially powerful” new International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) – could spur needed action.

Bennet says that wildlife criminals are getting away with murder, and she’s right. Stories of illegal traders getting light penalties for killing, transpoting, tradeing and buying illegal species abound including hollywood suppliers , US businesses, veterinarians in South Africa, and even government officials.

Now governments are saying that they are going to get serious about this and bring an end to the illegal trade and threats to endangered species through, wait for it, yes, MORE ENFORCEMENT. Is a new International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) really what we need now that species are on the brink of extinction?

well, I disagree! I just witnessed the burning of 5 tons of contraband ivory from Zambia and Malawi in Kenya that was seized in Singapore in 2002. The scary thing was that this ivory came from government stockpiles that had been raided! Secondly, it was headed for China and Japan, both countries are authorized by CITES to trade in ivory because they can “control the illegal trade”. This was the 19th shipment from southern Africa. The solution demands that Africa invests in high tech enforcement to save species that are in demand in China and Japan. It is garbage that the revenues raised from legal sales through CITES ‘help’ to conserve these charismatic species. In fact, the legal trade triggers demand and leads to unmanageable illegal trade. With China’s growing status in Africa, we know that regardless of penalties in Africa, Chinese nationals are getting off scot free. The solution is not greater enforcement – that is just driving up an arms race that African countries simply can’t win. So long as there is a demand for trade in those countries elephants and rhino’s will continue to die. The solution is to destroy the trade, remove China and Japan as trading partners for ivory, destroy the supply, and kill the demand by changing cultures in China and Japan. We all know that these two countries can do it but they simply don’t have the will.

Gabon – 13 heads and 32 ape hands siezed, 5 arrests

In one of the alarming and dramatic investigations recently,  13 great ape heads, 32 ape hands, plus 12 leopard skins, 5 elephant tails and one lion skin were siezed by the Gabonese authorities working with AALF, PALF, RALF and LAGA .

In this operation 5 dealers were arrested and are now behind bars.

Confiscated: 13 great apes heads (one for gorilla and 12 from Chimpanzees), 32 great apes hands (2 from Gorilla 30 from chimpanzees), as well as 12 leopard skins, a part of a lion skin, and 5 elephant tails.

Confiscated: 13 great apes heads (one for gorilla and 12 from Chimpanzees), 32 great apes hands (2 from Gorilla 30 from chimpanzees), as well as 12 leopard skins, a part of a lion skin, and 5 elephant tails.

While the scale of the illegal trade in ape products in West Africa is alarming, we congratulate the Gabonese authorities for this success in wildlife law enforcement. We encourage you our readers to also write to congratulate them. Write to:

Ministre des Eaux et Forêts : Fax : 00241 77 86 45 ; E-mail du secrétariat : jkangue@yahoo.frThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Directeur Général des Eaux et Forêts, Monsieur Kouma Zaou (mail: zaoupaul@yahoo.frThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Tél : 00241 07 94 30 27 et 00241 06 71 09 70).

Thank you

Paula Kahumbu

UK listed companies want to drill oil in Virunga!

hand_rigIt is with great shock that we have learned that two companies listed in the London Stock Exchange, SOCO and Dominion, plan to drill for oil in Africa’s oldest park, the Virunga National Park. Home to about 200 mountain gorillas, nearly a quarter of the world’s surviving population of these majestic great apes, Virunga has survived and thrived due to heavy investment by the DRC government and conservation organisations. To have such a park survive in a war-torn and mostly lawless province like Kivu sure takes great effort and for two ‘respected’ companies to want to erase many years of conservation effort merely for profit is, for lack of a stronger word, atrocious!

Xinhua News Agency reports that “Company maps seen by international media indicate that SOCO intends to drill through much of the park in areas with some of the highest savannah biomass in the world.” These actions will be costly for the area’s precious and fragile biodiversity, including not only the charismatic gorillas, but also chimpanzees, hippos, elephants and other rare species, as well as the local population who benefit from tourism and sustainable fishing inside the national park. Some 30,000 local fishermen fish sustainably on the park’s Lake Edward, a Ramsar protected site.

Virunga is a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site home to many species of mammals, birds and reptiles, and an impressive diversity of landscape and habitats. How dominion and SOCO would wish to jeopardize this highly important biodiversity refuge is beyond comprehension.

gorilla photoConservationists, including those at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are calling on the government of DRC to honor and enforce the oil exploration ban that prohibits drilling inside the park. They have also petitioned the UK companies “to respect the law and international convention and to abandon their harmful plans for exploration.”

For some time since it’s inception in 2006 WildlifeDirect supported Virunga National Park through funds raised from ordinary individuals in America and Europe. These funds payed wages for the armed rangers who are now restoring law and order in the park. Former WildlifeDirect director, Emmanuel DeMerode is now the director of Virunga National Park. Our investment in the Virunga is significant, we cannot stand aside and let our efforts and those of others go to waste. WildlifeDirect therefore categorically condemns this attack on the Virunga, and calls for all action – from the DRC government, to Dominion and SOCO and the international community – to end this madness.

Virunga shall not die.

WildlifeDirect wins Mongabay award

WildilfeDirect wins Mongabay Conservation Award

We at WildilfeDirect are hugely honored to have won mongabays “Innovation in Conservation Award” for 2009. The prize is granted by Mongabay each year to an organization using an unconventional and highly effective approach to conservation.

“WildlifeDirect, a group that promotes conservation through blogging by rangers and scientists, has won mongabay.com’s “Innovation in Conservation Award” for 2009. The prize, which includes a cash donation and and prominent placement on the mongabay.com web site and newsletter for the month of December, is granted each year to an organization using an unconventional and highly effective approach to conserving forests and biodiversity.”

Mongabay.com aims to raise interest in wildlife and wildlands while promoting awareness of environmental issues. Mongabay.com was founded in 1999 by Rhett A. Butler and today he and his colleague Jeremy Hance are the primary writers for the site.

WildlifeDiret wins Mongabay.com conservation award

The Chairman of WildlifeDirect, and renowned conservationist, Richard Leakey is especially thrilled that WildlifeDirect has received this award, despite the harsh fund raising conditions WildlifeDirect has continued to operate and support conservationists working in harsh, dangerous and isolated conditions – even rescuing some from certain collapse.

“Recognition from Mongabay through the Innovation in Conservation award is very much appreciated during these difficult times. WildlifeDirect is doing exactly what it promised – helping field based conservationists to be able to stay at work and keep our endangered species safe even during difficult economic times.” he said.

This award is so significant to us because Mongabay is viewed as a global authority on environmental issues. The Mongabay.com website receives over one million unique visitors per month and is one of the world’s most popular environmental science and conservation news sites. The news and rainforests sections of the site are widely cited for information on tropical forests, conservation, and wildlife.

WildlifeDirect have featured on Mongabay several times and it is one of the key sites that we go to for information. Read more about the award to WildlifeDirect and Rhett has to say about WildlifeDirect here

Here are some recent articles about WildlifeDirect on Mongabaay

Economic crisis threatens conservation programs and endangered species, an interview with Paula Kahumbu of WildlifeDirect
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
August 17, 2009

Prime Minister of Kenya urged to ban lion-killing pesticide after child dies from ingestion
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
November 10, 2009

 

Kenya moves forward to ban the pesticide Furadan after it is used to kill 76 lions
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
June 08, 2009

Outrage Over Uganda’s Re-introduction of Sport Hunting

Ssesse Island Sitatunga HuntedConservationists are taken aback over Uganda’s re-introduction of sport hunting in selected areas outside of designated protected areas. Conservationists from Nature Uganda and WildlifeDirect voiced their concerns over Uganda’s claim that they have enough wildlife to sustainably practice this consumptive use of wildlife. Ben Simon of AFP has the complete story.

Uganda under fire over legalized big game hunting

By Ben Simon (AFP)

KAMPALA — Outraged conservationists said on Wednesday that Uganda had neither enough game nor adequate control mechanisms to reintroduce sport hunting on animals such as elephant and buffalo.

Animal and environmental protection groups were angered by the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s (UWA) decision to sell shooting licences in a bid to boost tourism revenue.

“I do not believe that Uganda has enough game animals to sustain sport hunting,” Samuel Maina, of Nairobi-based WildlifeDirect, told AFP.

UWA spokeswoman Lillian Nsubuga said population levels had recovered from years of war in some areas and argued that ending the decades-old ban would contain crop-crunching elephants and buffalos while creating jobs.

Maina voiced doubts that the 90 percent loss of the large mammal population during the unstable 70s and 80s had been reversed.

“Sport hunting is thus likely to be unsustainable in the designated hunting areas and there is a likelihood that to sustain this lucrative sector, Uganda will have to extend hunting into protected areas,” he said.

Achilles Byaruhanga of Nature Uganda, a Kampala-based advocacy group, also judged the initiative to be dangerous because it is impossible to know the real strength of big game populations.

“I would want to ask UWA: Where is your data and your information coming from? Just because some animals have moved out of a wildlife reserve doesn’t mean their numbers are strong enough for sport hunting,” he told AFP.

UWA chief Moses Mapesa said that big game hunting was happening already and that the plan was simply for Uganda to benefit from it.

“In the absence of controlled hunting we have had a loss of animals and a loss of potential revenue,” he said.

But Byaruhanga argued that the reintroduction of legal hunting was unlikely to stop illegal hunting by needy local communities or create enough guide jobs to provide a viable alternative.

Maina also warned that Uganda had not proven it had the capacity to control the hunting effectively.

“Hunting-law enforcement is going to be difficult when new hunting blocks are opened. I doubt UWA has enough personnel and machinery to prevent abuse of the hunting licenses and concessions,” he said.

Maina also argued that sport hunting was incompatible with the east African country’s current attempts to enhance its international image as a destination for ecotourism, with gorillas the main attraction.

“Ecotourism and sport hunting are more or less mutually exclusive. Ecotourists do not want to go to places where wildlife is being killed,” he told AFP.

“The growth of sport hunting tourism will give Uganda a bad name as an ecotourism destination and is thus likely to reduce earnings from ecotourism including gorilla tracking,” he added.

Orphaned baby gorillas go back to the wild in Gabon!

Dear Friends,

We have exciting news from the  Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project Foundation in Gabon about a successful transfer to the wild of orphaned baby gorillas. This is their press release.

GABONESE ORPHAN GORILLAS SET FREE ON AN ISLAND

Text by Sarah Monaghan, images by SCD B.V.

 

Gabon, August 2009 – SIX YOUNG GORILLAS, rescued from the illegal bush meat trade, have begun new independent lives on a lagoon island just outside Loango National Park in Gabon.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/bhUuF15HfJ0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

 

Staff at the Société de Conservation et Développement (SCD) are celebrating after announcing the successful transfer of the six juvenile western lowland gorillas (a species deemed critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List (IUCN)) onto the safe island in the Fernan-Vaz Lagoon.

Gorilla reintroduction Gabon

This is the first step in a reintroduction project that is hoped will allow them to return entirely to the wild and follows a three-year-long ‘rehab programme’ to prepare them for release.

One step closer to freedom

Gorilla reintroduction Gabon

Halfway through the Year of the Gorilla, the transfer marks the beginning of the gorillas’ independence. They have exchanged their human-built shelters for the palm-fringed forested islet where they can now live in relative safety from threats from poachers or other predators. The transfer was supervised by the Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project (FGVP) director Nick Bachand and his team of Gabonese keepers.

“We all felt a hint of sadness as the gorillas left the place where their journey started,” said Nick Bachand, a veterinarian. “But this was instantly replaced with a mountain of pride when we observed some of the gorillas starting to build their own nests to sleep outside overnight.”

Building self-made nests is an important indication, among others, of the young gorillas’ progress during this second phase of their rehabilitation.

Tragic pasts

 Gorilla reintroduction Gabon

Each of the six gorillas (three females, three males) varying in ages from two to seven, were orphaned by the illegal bush meat trade.

The oldest male, Gimenu, 7, was rescued in an emaciated state from a Gabonese zoo where he had spent three years in complete isolation.  He is accompanied by Sindila, 4, an abandoned male found by tourists on a river excursion, and Ivindo, also 4, flown in from the Ivindo National Park in 2005.  The youngest female, Wanga, 2, was left on the doorstep of a conservationist’s home in the southern half of Loango National Park while the other two Cessé and Eliwa, 3 and 2, were donated by another great-ape rescue centre in Gabon.

 


Gorilla orphanage

 

The gorillas have spent the past two and a half years undergoing daily forest rehabilitation accompanied by their keepers on Evengue Island, located north of Loango National Park.

A small team of local keepers will continue to monitor their progress from a base camp in the central zone of Orique island, where their new home is.

The Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project comprises a Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Programme. All its resident gorillas were rescued after the parents were killed illegally by hunters for bush meat. The purpose of the Sanctuary is to provide a safe home for gorillas that can never return to the wild as they lack the critical survival skills usually taught by their parents in the first six to eight years of their lives.

The younger gorillas are part of its Rehabilitation Programme, however, and have undergone its quarantine and socialisation stages. They now have the potential to be reintroduced into the wild although many challenges and uncertainties remain.

‘Gorilla rehab’ plays strategic role in survival of great apes

The IUCN has identified the use of reintroduction projects as part of a global strategy for the survival of the world’s endangered great apes. The Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) works closely with the Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project and focuses wherever possible on reintroduction programmes.

“We have to find ways to restore value to Africa’s forests, and reintroduction places focus on the African wildlife in the African forests,” said Doug Cress, executive director of PASA.

He added: “It’s no good for any of us to aspire to having the world’s largest captive population of chimpanzees or gorillas – even if we are saving lives. That is not conservation and it is not sending messages that can be translated into environmental action.”

Return to the wild

 

Thanks to a team of devoted veterinarians, dedicated keepers and the support of the international community, these gorillas’ return to the wild in the Gabonese equatorial forest is expected within two to three years.

In the meantime, the project is working hard to raise local and global awareness on issues facing the gorillas, to encourage research that emphasises the needs of the local people, and to integrate responsible tourism, as part of a national and international effort to save the gorilla from extinction in the wild.

The Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project in Gabon is a project of Société de Conservation et Développement (SCD) in affiliation with its main eco-tourism partner, Africa’s Eden. SCD has partnerships with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Max Planck Institute, the Gabonese Ministry of Forestry, and the Gabonese National Parks Agency (ANPN).

www.gorillasgabon.com

www.africas-eden.com

For more information

Ms. Tienke Vermeiden

E: tienke.vermeiden@scd-conservation.com

T: +31 26 370 5567

Other interesting links:                                     www.africas-eden.com

www.yog2009.org

www.iucnredlist.org

http://pasaprimates.org/

Training of New WildlifeDirect Bloggers Debuts in Kampala, Uganda

The MacArthur Foundation-funded Albertine Rift project shifted gear on 24 March 2009 as WildlifeDirect organized the first ever wildlife blogger training in Kampala, Uganda. It was revolutionary in many ways. Many of the participants not having blogged before, they were quite keen to learn all they could about this experience.

Victor in Kampala

Victor explains a point

The training was attended by various individuals representing the civil society as well as governmental organizations in environment and conservation during the two days that it was conducted. They included representatives of the Albertine Rift conservation Society, the Uganda Nile Discourse Forum, Makerere university, Wildlife Clubs of Uganda, the Uganda Environmental Education Foundation, the country’s wildlife authority, Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Kikandwa Environmental Association, and several community-based organisations.

The training took the form of a day of lectures and practical activities, the first step introducing the new bloggers to the WordPress dashboard and how to use it to create a blog post and the second step teaching how to blog well. Victor Ngeny took the trainees through the initial step which was done in an interactive manner allowing the trainees to practice what they learn in real time. No wonder a few of their mock-up blog posts showed up in Baraza and caused a little confusion.

Samuel Maina would then take over the next session which, as interactive as the first one, would teach the new bloggers the elements of a good blog post and how to improve their writing so that they can attract and retain readers. They were also taught how to frame their calls for action such that they were credible and likely to elicit positive response from the readers.

Trainees in UG Day 1

Participants during a practical exercise

Masumi Gudka, who would first introduce each training session, would mostly introduce the new bloggers to WildlifeDirect as an organization and prepare the bloggers for what to some would be a lifetime experience. The participants would also be shown a short video, featuring non other than the Dr Richard Leakey, that explained what WildlifeDirect does.

Amid the tasty teas and open interactions between the training team and the trainees, a new and huge thing was developing. We were building a new community of conservationists from one of the most biodiverse ecoregions in Africa: The Albertine Rift. You can expect to read from the new bloggers we trained soon. Expect good quality posts.

Kampala participants of WildlifeDirect training

Some of the participants pause for a group photo

From  Kampala, the trainers headed to Buhoma, the southwestern Uganda district where the world renowned Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located. The experience there was different. Being rural and close to a national park – with gorillas in it – the experience must definitely be so much different from that in Kampala City. That is why I will tell you about this experience tomorrow.

Gorillas Revealed on WildlifeDirect with live coverage from Limbe

When Jana Jirátová and her boss Miroslav Bobek visited us from Czech Radio last month we had never heard of ‘The Revealed’ – a Big Brother parody played out by Gorillas in the Prague Zoo. The competitors were members of a lowland gorilla family; Richard, Moja, Shinda, Kamba and others.

The Revealed Gorillas on WildlifeDirect

The show was odd in so many ways, a TV program done by a radio company, the public were voting on Gorillas- and learning about themselves in the process. The interesting part to us was the link with Gorilla conservation. After 72 episodes, the Czech public did not allow the show to end even though the siverback Richard, had ‘won’ the popularity contest.

The Revealed Gorillas on WildlifeDirect

The show used 17 cameras hidden in the Gorilla house of the zoo, and captured the ins and outs of gorilla politics, births, deaths and  captivated the imagination of the public, and the show won the prestigious BBC Wildlife “Wildscreen Award”. Public interaction and bringing it to Africa, has made this show even more exceptional.

Of course we leaped at the offer to partner with Czech Radio and bring The Revealed to WildlifeDirect because the project now benefits one of our bloggign partners, the Limbe Wildlife Sanctuary where  live coverage is about to debut. We love the ingenuity behind this idea, and we think you will fall in love with the characters and the project too. Here is a note from the team who have just landed in Cameroon

“In a couple of days, we are setting off for Central Africa. As of April 1, we will start posting reports on WildlifeDirect from our journey to the Limbe Wildlife Centre in Cameroon, our visits to local schools where children received our books, negotiations about our future cooperation and, most importantly, from our expedition to tropical rain forests. We have received a unique chance to travel to the forest in the southern part of the Central African Republic and track a troop of lowland gorillas, the only of its kind in the world. We shall see how our plans materialise – but we will do our best…”

So please don’t miss it, log on at 12 noon GMT to watch the life and times of Gorillas in The Revealed live from Limbe.

All donations will support lowland gorilla conservation activities in Africa starting with Limbe

Enjoy! Paula

Should we save gorillas or people

The United Nations have declared 2009 the Year of the Gorilla – and there is a call for actions from everyone to participate in global efforts to save gorillas.

Bonane

Some journalists are questioning the morality ofsaving gorillas while people continue to suffer in Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. When in Rwanda I attended the Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming ceremony – a national event, after which I met a famous doctor who is rebuilding the medical infrastructure of the country. He had been invited to Rwandas exclusive tourism lodge on the edge of the Volcano National Park, where a visitor pays $2,000 per night.  A stones throw away he told me he had been treating a community for common diseases, malaria, typhoid, cholera. The lodge made him very angry he said, because all attention was on the gorillas, not the people who live around the park.  Less than 20% of the proceeds from gorilla tourism trickle down to these communities, some of the poorest in Africa and very densely populated.

Poverty in Rwanda next to the park

He told me about the pitiful health status of people living around the protected areas and asked me how conservationists could promote community conservation when communities were suffering so severely, not only in Rwanda but in Congo, Uganda and even Kenya. He asked me how tourism could promote the image of Masai with their two lower teeth bashed out, a romantic image, a reflection of failure to prevent tetanus or lock jaw, a deadly and painful bacterial infection that causes muscle fiberes to shorten until the jaw cannot open (Listen to Lion Guardian Anthony Kasangas podcast here). Poverty he implied, must not become a tourist attraction.

Anthony Kasangas gap between his lower teeth

Then Paul Farmer and I had a huge (friendly) argument in which he two accused me directly of having my priorities completely wrong. I accused him of failing to comprehend that human health and living standards are directly affected by the state of the environment. We didn’t see eye to eye … and I wondered who was being stubborn. The solution is not, and can never be, to simply be to get rid of parks and conservation areas for the sake of giving more people land. In such cases the problems are only delayed, and then exacerbated once the land is once again over utilized. It just does not make sense to me that we should permit people to destroy a national asset that would take decades to recover, just to feed a population for a few days or weeks.  Rwanda is hugely is a tiny country that is overpopulated – even if people are allowed into the few parks it will not allevaite the problem in any appreciable way.

But not everyone agrees. In a recent thought provoking article Alex Halperin reminds us that Rwanda is staking its economy on gorillas. To protect this national asset the authorities go to great lengths to kept the gorillas safe and healthy, mainly by restricting human contact, especially with poor villagers who are not allowed into the National Park to forage for natural resources. So, while the national economy benefits, the local population pays the cost.

In Seatlepi blog Robert McClure asks if saving gorillas in a poor country is sustainable. Read the Halperin article here and tell us what you think.

Oh, and if you haven’t already done it, don’t forget Sheryls birthday gift. Thanks to everyone who has already made a contribution!

Is There ‘Gorilla Warfare’ in Virunga?

When rebels loyal to renegade DRC general, Laurent Nkunda, invaded and occupied the Virunga National Park in 2007, most rangers fled. Some 30 rangers however remained behind and continued their work under the new ‘administration’. Late last year, the rebels advanced pushing their front further towards Goma. Rumangabo, the Virunga Park headquarters fell to the rangers after a fierce battle with government forces. More government supported rangers fled. Now the Virunga Park was under what seemed to be total control of the rebels.

A month or so before the rebels seized Rumangabo, Emmanuel de Merode, a Belgian national, had been appointed by the DRC government in order to restore the park authority’s [Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature-ICCN] credibility after the previous director, Honore Mashagiro, was fired and arrested on charges that he had participated in the charcoal and deforestation racket that resulted in the murder of 5 gorillas of the Rugendo family in July 2007.

Gorilla rwanda

Emmanuel got working immediately and negotiated an agreement that would allow the government supported rangers to return to their duty stations as neutral protectors of Virunga’s 200 or so gorillas and other wildlife. Emmanuel has started deploying his rangers into the park – which remains under control of rebels – and hopes to have 41 rangers in their stations and re-establish five 24-hour patrols.

One of the priorities for the rangers upon their return was to re-establish contact with the habituated ‘tourist groups’ of gorillas and to conduct a census. Surprisingly, despite 14 months without ‘care’ the gorillas have prospered. There are infants in most of the families so far visited and the final count of gorillas is expected to be higher than the current official number.

The same cannot be said about other wildlife. The hippo population for instance has plummeted from an estimated 30,000 to around 300

The rangers who stayed behind under Nkunda now claim that they are conserving the gorillas better than the government. They have accused ICCN rangers of being corrupt and greedy. They claim that more gorillas were killed when the government was in control than during their time. “The gorillas are safer now than they were before,” Pierre-Canisius Kanamahalagi, one of about 30 rangers who stayed behind, is quoted in the LA Times. “It was during the government control that so many were killed.”

The truth is that mountain gorilla populations have grown in the Virunga. There is even the discovery of a new family. The question is: is it because or despite of the rangers that work under Nkunda?

The ICCN has doubts about the ‘rebel’ rangers’ qualifications and political motives. “These rangers are not fully trained in gorilla-monitoring,” De Merode says in the LA Times report. “They’ve been a little cavalier.”

Park officials also have accused the rebels of attacking some rangers, often because of their ethnicity. Tutsi rangers, who are part of the same ethnic group as rebel leader Nkunda, were allowed to remain in the park, some say, though others were chased away.

The new arrangement where these two groups of rangers will work together is very desirable for the gorillas. The concern is that there is a heavy air of suspicion and second-guessing between the two. Will the good intentions of the two groups eventually win over their suspicions and rivalry? Will the gorillas and other wildlife fare better than before?