Target: Joseph Kabila, President, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Goal: Investigate the deaths of two conservation officers tasked with protecting endangered Grauer’s gorillas.
A conservation officer was recently shot dead while trying to protect threatened Grauer’s gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kahuzi Biega national park. Munganga Nzonga Jacques, a 26-year-old ranger, was killed by suspected militants in the Tshivanga area of the park, which was previously suspected to be relatively safe. Even more shockingly, this is not the first conservation officer to be killed by poachers after the gorillas — another was killed only six months previously in the same national park.
Grauer’s gorillas are the largest species of ape on the planet, and also one of the most endangered. Threatened by illegal hunting, civil unrest, and habitat destruction, populations have declined by a whopping 77 percent in only 20 years. The gorillas are now listed as critically endangered, and are facing imminent extinction within the next five years without protection. Fewer than 4,000 are estimated to remain, all mostly confined to the Eastern forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In order to protect these gorillas, it is imperative that they receive the hands-on protection of conservation officers. If these conservation officers are unsafe, they will be unable to properly protect this critically endangered species. Not only must security be upgraded in the Kahuzi Biega national park, but an investigation must be launched into these brutal killings. Sign the petition below to demand that those responsible for these killings are found and punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Dear Mr. Kabila,
A 26-year-old conservation officer was recently killed while protecting critically endangered Grauer’s gorillas in Kahuzi Biega national park. This is not the first ranger to be killed — another was recently killed in the same national park. Without protection from threats like illegal hunting, civil unrest, and mining, the critically endangered Grauer’s gorilla could be extinct within five years.
This animal is the largest species of ape in the world, as well as one of the rarest. It is imperative that it, as well as those who protect it, are kept safe from harm. We therefore ask that you improve security in the Kahuzi Biega national park as well as work to ensure that those responsible for the killings of these consrvation officers are punished to the fullest extent of the law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Victoria Kaderbahl