In early October, another dedicated #Wildlife conservationist lost their life in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The person in question, Munganga Nzonga Jacques, murdered by armed militiamen as he attempted to protect Kahuzi Biega national park's embattled population of Eastern Lowland Gorillas. This abhorrent event marking the second attack on park rangers in Kahuzi Biega in the land six months alone, following a similar incident in March where Oscar Byamungu Mianziro was fatally shot in the line of duty.
The Eastern Lowland or Grauer's Gorilla, as it is otherwise known, is one of the world's most threatened ape species. Now facing extinction due to illegal killing following a catastrophic population decline of 77% over the past twenty years.
Despite this, Kahuzi Biega had previously been thought to ask as a refuge for the species, at least according to a statement by the Wildlife Conservation Society. Though now it is thought that the Gorillas are facing a significant, almost insurmountable, threat from armed militant groups who have occupied the area in an effort to exploit its ample natural resources. The large apes, largely killed for food, make an easy target for the hunters guns.
Due to this tragic event, Jacques joins a long list of dedicated wildlife protectionists to have died for their passion. With perhaps the most famous example involving the case of Diana Fossey, the famed scientist who lost her life in 1985, slain at the hands of poachers in Rwanda. Due predominantly to her often fearsome opposition to the killing of endangered Mountain Gorillas.
Though both Jacques and Fossey are not alone in this regard, and many conservationists have, unfortunately perished under similar circumstances including the case of Jairo Mora in 2013 and Gregory Gibbard in 2015. Wildlife protection is a dangerous career choice it seems, and one can only admire the dedication of those willing put all on the line in their quest to safeguard the natural world. #conservation #Nature