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Suspected gorilla traffickers arrested in DR Congo

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Posted August 27, 2011 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Featured ~ 2,192 views

     

AFP ~ Two men suspected of running a baby gorilla trafficking ring have been arrested in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, conservation activists said Friday.

The two were arrested in Goma, the capital of DR Congo’s Kivu Nord province, and “charged with illegal trafficking of an endangered species”, the Congolese ICCN conservation group said in a statement.

Authorities believe the criminal outfit captures baby gorillas in the iconic Virunga National Park, which straddles DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, and then smuggles the rare mammals into Rwanda to be sold.

“The arrests are the outcome of a coordinated effort by Rwandan and Congolese law enforcement authorities,” Virunga National Park director Emmanuel de Merode told AFP.

“While we are pleased to have brought this group of traffickers to justice, we remain very worried by what appears to be a significant and growing demand for baby mountain gorillas,” he added.

Most of the world’s mountain gorillas are found in the Virunga massif, which includes three contiguous national parks in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

Estimates released last year by a team of wildlife organisations put the known world mountain gorilla population at 786, including roughly 200 within Virunga National Park.

Mountain gorillas, who have fallen prey to conflict and poaching over the years, were famously brought to the world’s attention by the late Dian Fossey and are one the region’s main tourist attractions.


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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

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