Park Ranger Murdered While Protecting Critically Endangered Gorillas

Written by Kristin Falzon and reposted with permission from EcoWatch

A wildlife ranger tasked with protecting critically endangered Grauer’s gorillas was killed this month in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kahuzi Biega National Park, Mongabay reported.

Munganga Nzonga Jacques, 26, died Oct. 4 in an area in the Tshivanga region of the park, an area previously believed to be safe for the gorillas, showing the dangers conservationists face in unstable regions, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said.

Jacques is the second ranger to be killed in the park in the last six months. Rebel groups shot and killed park ranger Oscar Byamungu Mianziro back in March.

park rangers in Congo

Park rangers carrying out an anti-poaching patrol in Kahuzi-Biega National Park. | A.J.Plumptre / WCS

“We are very concerned about these increased threats to the rangers and their families, and to the protection of these animals,” Andrew Plumptre, WCS senior conservation scientist for Africasaid in a statement.

Grauer’s gorilla—a subspecies of eastern gorilla, the world’s largest ape—are confined to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. They were listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species back in September after their population dropped 77 percent.

In 1998, it was estimated that 17,000 Grauer’s gorillas lived in the forests of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Now, fewer than 3,800 of these gorillas still live in the wild, according to a report from the WCS, Flora and Fauna International and the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature.

The main cause of the decline is hunting for bushmeat and civil unrest, which is taking place around villages and mining camps that have been established by armed groups deep in the forests in eastern DR Congo.

“The civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has led to the wide availability of arms and created a plethora of militia groups who control different territories in the east of the country,” Andrew Plumptre, senior conservation scientist for the WCS Africa Program, told PLoS One. “This has been terrible for conservation of its wildlife.”

Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

102 comments

Sarah H
Sarah Hill11 months ago

sad news

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Robert N.
Rob Chloe Sam Nabout a year ago

My heart goes out to Munganga and his family, He was a real hero for risking his life for these beautiful animals, I hope he gets remembered for that.

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Patricia Harris
Patricia Harrisabout a year ago

Fred L., I hope you're happy that a someone was killed, because you want extinction to our own species!!! You want humans to go extinct so bad, a lot of innocent people (like that ranger) will have to die out before all the vile scum will!!!!

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Patricia Harris
Patricia Harrisabout a year ago

Fred L., I hope you're happy that a someone was killed, because you want extinction to our own extinction!!! You want humans to go extinct so bad, a lot of innocent people (like that ranger) will have to die out before all the vile scum will!!!!

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Patricia Harris
Patricia Harrisabout a year ago

Fred L., SHUT UP!!!!!!!!

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Jennifer H.
Jennifer Habout a year ago

Poachers need to be faced with the same furor that they are dishing out. The only way they can't be stopped. Rest in peace.

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Fred L.
Fred Labout a year ago

So horrible that poachers are often better equipped and armed than those who try to stop them. Maybe the only thing that will save Earth's wildlife is for us to go extinct.

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Marianne C.
Marianne Cabout a year ago

Rest in peace. And rest in the knowledge that there's a special pit in hell for the scum who killed you.

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Will Rogers
Will Rogersabout a year ago

Obviously not a white ranger then, or they would have shown his picture. Yes it's terrible. War is terrible, and animal abuse is terrible. I hope that country stops its war.

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william Miller
william Millerabout a year ago

thanks

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