For the fifth week, we watched the “Gorilla Murder” video as a focus study on endangered species.
On July 21st, 2007, in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the bodies of five mountain gorillas (a silverback and four females), belonging to a group of 12, were found dead. A few days after the attack, a baby girl gorilla was found with a gunshot wound in her leg. This baby gorilla was taken to the orphanage in Goma where she received medical attention.
It is estimated that between 700 mountain gorillas remain in the world, an estimated 380 of them in the Virunga range. Mountain gorillas reproduce slowly: Females do not become sexually mature until ...view middle of the document...
He is also suspected of being behind the killing of the Rugendo gorilla family. This was done as retaliation against rangers. Rangers are wildlife keepers, non-governmental organizations’ staff members, and low level officials who work every day to protect national parks from poachers, bush meat hunters, and trappers, risking their lives every day. Virunga National Park is in a lawless swath of eastern Congo, bordering Rwanda and Uganda. It is an area the Government has struggled to bring under control for years. It gives us an idea of all the difficult circumstances that these brave men face to protect the area. This situation is very sad. This species is in the face of extinction and its habitat is being destroyed due to people needing charcoal to cook and feed their children.
It was very distressing to see the bodies of these murdered animals, and even more so to watch those desperate mothers kneeling and begging to be allowed to keep the sacks of charcoal. I do not agree with the charcoal trade business because of the irresponsible destruction it causes to habitats and ecosystems. On the other hand, this business obviously satisfies a need and meets a particular demand.
As an outside spectator, it is too easy to be quick to judge the Congo people as insensitive to this issue. Many campaigns to raise awareness have taken place in an attempt to protect the rainforest and its fauna; however, it is not reasonable o expect a population that lacks the most basic needs such as nutrition to act different. Therefore, in order to help the beringei beringei gorillas and their habitat, the first step should be to help these people to reduce the likelihood that the problem will continue.
1. React to this statement: “this is not about poaching; this is an assassination of a family to make a statement”.
The people who killed these five mountain gorillas, a silverback and four females, wanted to give a message to the Rangers that they had better not interfere in their business of illegal charcoal trade. By killing the gorillas, it was like telling rangers that they could do anything for profit. Because it is the dominant silverback who keeps a family together, by eliminating him, the murderers disrupted this family group severely.
2. What is your reaction to the reaction of the wardens and people in the area to the killings? Is murder an appropriate term to use in describing the killings? Why or why not?
I felt very sad and shocked to see how some people can seek revenge on innocent creatures that have nothing to do with the whole human greed. When they said that the director of the Virunga National Park, Honore Mashagiro, was the possible suspect behind the killing, I was amazed and upset because I think: “who better than him should know the ecological impact and cause of the extinction of these animals?” So, the greatest problem that mountain gorillas currently face is the human...