‘Jungle police’ risking their lives for endangered gorillas in the DR Congo


Without the rangers, endangered gorillas in the DR Congo are prey to poachers and militia groups – but it’s a dangerous mission.By Alex Crawford in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo

The rangers of Kahuzi-Biega National Park take part in a parade every morning before setting out to do their jobs guarding one of the world’s most critically endangered gorillas.

The parade is aimed at bolstering discipline and morale in a group of men and women who know that every time they step into the jungle their lives are at risk.

Earlier this month, five rangers and a staff driver were killed during an ambush at the sister operation in the Virunga National Park. The risk is real – not just to the rangers trying to protect the gorillas but also to the primates themselves.Multiple conflicts which have stretched over decades in the DR Congo have led to a catastrophic collapse in the population of the world’s largest primate – a gorilla subspecies which lives in the forests in the east of the country.

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