Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Park Rangering in Africa

National park rangers in the Democratic Republic of Congo killed two soldiers after the troops killed an elephant at a protected site, one of the rangers said Monday.
The rangers "killed immediately" the soldiers from the 18th Brigade of the Congolese army in the clash on Sunday in Virunga National Park in eastern Congo, one of the rangers said on condition of anonymity.
"One of us is injured," the ranger added.
A local group, Innovation for the Development and Protection of the Environment, said the incident happened two kilometres from the park's Rwindi Bridge.
According to IDPE, soldiers killed 12 elephants in the area in May and have armed young people to encourage poaching on the site.
Set up in 1925, the Virunga National Park is classed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and it is the oldest game reserve in Africa.
It is home notably to 200 mountain gorillas and a small population of plains gorillas, a species strongly faced with the threat of extinction.
But the park, on the northeastern border with Uganda, is a base not only to army units but to warring militia groups and rebel forces, all of whom kill animals for food and chop down trees for charcoal to burn.

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