Monday, 24 January 2011

Eight Killed in attack on Ranger Patrol in Congo's Virunga National Park

Sadly, we are bringing bad news with this week's blog and would like to offer our condolences to the eight people who died in Congo's Virunga National Park when Rwandan militia attacked a Ranger Patrol. Three rangers and five Congolese soldiers were killed and our thoughts are with their families.


24th January 2011

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Attack on Ranger Patrol in Congo’s Virunga National Park leaves 8 dead and 3 critically injured

Three rangers and five Congolese soldiers have been killed during a violent attack on their patrol vehicle in Congo's Virunga National Park. A rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) hit the early morning patrol when it fell into an ambush approximately one kilometer north of Mabenga, just inside the park border. The rangers were being deployed along a road that passes through the national park in an attempt to secure a safe passage for the public. The attackers, who escaped on foot, are believed to be FDLR Rwandan militia, an illegal movement believed to include the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The attack is thought to have been carried out in retaliation for the destruction of two of their camps by park rangers in December 2010.

The attack took place about 100 km north of the city of Goma. This is the worst attack on Virunga Park patrols in over a year. Park rangers and regular army units have been working together to secure the area within the national park known to be heavily frequented by FDLR militia.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleagues who were killed in their efforts to protect the public from illegal armed groups" said Virunga Park Director Emmanuel de Merode. "130 of Virunga's rangers have died since the beginning of the war in 1996, but the park's staff remains determined to protect the park"

The rangers will be burried tomorrow morning at the park cemetary on the banks of the Rutshuru River. The injured are in a critical state and have been moved to Rutshuru hospital.

Some 400 Park Rangers protect Virunga National Park in eastern DRC, a region affected by a 12-year civil war and political instability. The Park is home to mountain gorillas, lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, forest elephants and rhinos, among other wildlife. The Rangers have remained active in protecting these parks, four of which have been classified as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Poaching, wildlife trafficking and habitat destruction remain the key threats to the survival of the wildlife in the park.

Editor’s Notes:

The Congolese Wildlife Authority (ICCN) and its Rangers work throughout the country to protect the National Parks of Congo and their wildlife from poachers, rebel groups, illegal miners and land invasions. Over 160 Rangers have been killed in the last 10 years protecting the 5 parks of eastern DRC, and Rangers worked throughout the civil war, rarely receiving a salary.

Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest national park (established in 1925) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, is home to 200 of the world’s mountain gorillas and a small population of eastern lowland gorillas. Formerly known as Albert National Park, Virunga lies in eastern DR Congo and covers 7,800 square kilometers. The park is managed by the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature, the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN).

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Join the 2011 Expedition

Join the Adventure of a Lifetime and help save Arthur Conan Doyle's 'lost world'

In April 2011 Ibex Earth will be travelling back to Mount Roraima, Venezuela with the star of BBC 2's 'Decade of Discovery' Stewart McPherson and we are looking for ten people to travel with us and see one of the world's most breathtaking natural wonders as part of The Lost World Project.

The project looks to safeguard the long-term future of Mount Roraima, which is the South American plateau that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write his famous adventure novel 'The Lost World' and has most recently been the major influence behind Disney Pixar's animated blockbuster 'UP'. Sadly Mount Roraima is now under threat from unregulated/unsustainable tourism, illegal goldmining and the introduction of non-endemic species of flora and fauna. The Lost World Project looks to raise funds to address these issues via the making of a broadcast quality documentary, which will be premiered at the Royal Geographical Society on 30th June 2010 and then on national television in late 2011/early 2012.

The filming aspect of The Lost World Project was completed last Autumn when Ibex Earth sent a critically acclaimed film crew to Mount Roraima with ten university students from the UK. The footage taken in Venezuela will form part of a fifty minute documentary that will air on national television in late 2011/early 2012. This part of the project has already won a number of awards and has been endorsed by both the Royal Geographical Society and the Zoological Society of London.

We are now looking for the final ten people to form the next expedition to Mount Roraima and would like to invite you to journey with us to a land that will leave you with memories to last a life time. The Itinerary of the April expedition is available to download directly from the Ibex Earth website on the link below:

If you would like any further information about the project please email