Rainforest Petition: No primate blood for oil!

 

 

To: the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila, and Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala Nzenze

Virunga and Salonga National Parks are crucial for the survival of gorillas and bonobos. Do not sacrifice them to business interests.

Read letter

 

 

For wildlife lovers, the name Virunga has a magical ring. The national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a refuge for some of the planet’s last mountain gorillas, guarded by rangers who risk their lives to protect the great apes. Salonga National Park is a key habitat for bonobos, home to around 40 percent of the remaining population.

 

 

It’s not surprising that UNESCO declared the areas World Heritage Sites in 1979 and 1984.

Now, Congolese President Kabila wants to delist thousands of square kilometers of the parks. The government feels that it has a right to exploit mineral wealth anywhere within its borders – and it is not about to let a World Heritage Site or two stand in its way. If the plan is realized, it would make a mockery of the whole concept of protected areas.

 

 

The controversy centers around drilling for oil. A total of nearly 4,500 square kilometers are to be opened. Bloomberg reports the area to be as much as 16,700 square kilometers. The threat to the environment that this would entail is alarming. Exploring and drilling would:

 

 

destroy the habitat of bonobos and gorillas, as well as many other species

trash forests that are crucial to protecting our climate

endanger nesting sites of migratory birds

– pollute the Congo and Nile river systems

 

 

In May, a total of 19 environmental organizations from the province of North Kivu published an open letter (in French) to warn of the impact of shrinking the national parks. They now want to mobilize the people of the region to step up the pressure on the government in Kinshasa. Their goal is to collect 100,000 signatures on a national petition.

 

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CBFP News Archive

2022

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