Wildlife Ranger Organized Gorilla Killings

The Democratic Republic of Congo has been one of Africa’s worst horror stories since the Belgians arrived and started committing atrocities and gathering slaves.

dicImage by TknoxB

The sad story of a country that has never fulfilled its economic or political potential continues. Recently, a senior wildlife official was arrested amid claims that he organized the killings of severely endangered mountain gorillas.

Honore Mashagiro is a member of the Congolese Nature Conservation Institute (ICCN), the group that recently brought charges against him for the killings.

They argue that he is responsible for the killings of some or all of the 10 gorillas killed last year in Virunga National Park. The park is a UNESCO world heritage site but has been taken over by rebel groups in the country’s lawless eastern region.

The park is a hotbed of conflict in the war torn country, as well as the home of more than half the world’s 700 or so remaining mountain gorillas.

Environmental groups believe Mashagiro masterminded the killings of the gorillas and instructed as many as six other men to participate. They say the killings were linked to the charcoal industry.

The gorillas were not killed for trophies or meat because they were merely shot and left undisturbed, suggesting that someone just wanted them out of the way so they could use the forest. The environmental groups believe they were killed as a distraction, to help divert attention and resources away from the illegal trade in charcoal in the park.

Amir Bazarbacha of the group WildlifeDirect said:

The national parks have suffered during this period of instability which DR Congo has gone through. After more than a decade of civil war and conflict, ICCN has been considerably incapacitated. This arrest shows that ICCN has clearly regained control of its management and is making the effort to purge itself of any person responsible for weakening the organisation by favouring the bushmeat trade or any other illegal activities.

Info from BBC