Founded in 1925 by King Albert I of Belgium, the Virunga National Park (VNP) now stretches over 7,800 square kilometers that includes active volcanoes, forests, savannas, lava plains, swamps, valleys and mountains. VNP is home to around a quarter of the world's mountain gorilla population, and also contains eastern lowland Grauer's gorillas and chimpanzees. This makes it the only park in the world to contain three different taxa of great apes.
VNP's history has been a difficult one. The Democratic Republic of the Congo and the surrounding countries have had a series of civil wars and uprisings. The 1994 Rwandan genocide, for example, sent 1 million refugees out of the country. This type of pressure on the VNP means the wildlife is in immense danger from hunting, deforestation and human activities. Several critically endangered mountain gorillas were killed by a charcoal mafia in 2007, which promoted VNP to improve its ranger protection program.
Virunga: The Movie has now been completed and the trailer can be viewed below. It is up to us to support their efforts and make sure we do not lose this key habitat.