Success: Endangered Gorillas Protected from Oil Exploration

Moutain Gorillas

Target: Ed Story, SOCO International President, CEO and Executive Director

Goal: Thank the company for ending oil exploration activities that threatened endangered mountain gorillas

The British oil company SOCO International has agreed to end damaging oil exploration in Africa’s Virunga National Park. The park is home to nearly half of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorilla population who would likely have been killed if oil drilling had continued.

Roughly 50 percent of the world’s 950 remaining mountain gorillas currently live in Virunga, according to the Guardian, in addition to other rare African wildlife like lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, forest elephants and okapi. These endangered animals have already been victims of armed conflict and poaching in recent years; oil exploration would likely have killed a large portion of the remaining mountain gorilla species by destroying their habitat and causing the animals extreme stress. Further, drilling could worsen rivalries among local militias and pollute Lake Edward, which provides an important source of food, water and jobs for some 50,000 local families.

SOCO International responded to strong opposition from conservation groups, including this Force Change petition, and worked closely with the World Wildlife Fund to come up with a solution. The company agreed to end drilling and exploration in Virunga and all other United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural (UNESCO) World Heritage sites.

Thank SOCO International for making the compassionate choice to protect precious mountain gorillas and other endangered animals by ending its oil exploration in Virunga National Park.


Dear Mr. Story,

Thank you for agreeing to end SOCO International’s oil exploration in Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park. This forward-thinking and compassionate decision has protected nearly half of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas, many of whom probably would have been killed were oil drilling to continue.

Virunga is the continent’s oldest and most biodiverse national park, not to mention a UNESCO World Heritage site. The survival of its many threatened species requires international cooperation. Oil drilling in Virunga would have destroyed this precious habitat, caused threatened animals extreme stress, intensified rivalries among local militias and polluted nearby Lake Edward. The lake is a crucial source of food, water, and jobs for approximately 50,000 families in the region. Other rare African animals like lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, forest elephants, and okapi have also been protected by your decision.

I sincerely thank you and your company for working with the World Wildlife Fund to reach a solution that prevents oil exploration in Virunga.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Carine06 via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Sheila Jefferson says:

    Thank you!!!

  2. Thank You SOCO for FINALLY doing the right thing !!!! There are more important things in this life than “oil” ~ animal conservation and the environment are two of those things.

  3. Kim Oaster says:

    Thank you for doing the RIGHT thing. It is a wonderful thing to hear. Protection of the species and land. Kudos to SOCO

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