For more on the battle for Virunga National Park, visit National Geographic.
Photograph by Brent Stirton, © Brent Stirton / National GeographicA silverback from the 22-member Mapuwa family emerges from the jungle to keep an eye on a ranger patrol. Virunga National Park has largely succeeded in protecting mountain gorillas, its top tourist draw, from violence. Their population is now growing.
TWO GROUPS OF MOUNTAIN GORILLAS WERE SLAUGHTERED in the summer of 2007, one after the other.
First, two females were shot, with one’s infant left alive and later found still clinging to its dead mother’s breast. Then came the killing of three females and a silverback, shot, burned, and, in a strange move for poachers, left otherwise intact, no trophies or meat taken for sale on the black market.
Then again, these men almost certainly weren’t poachers.