Extreme conservation

9/24/2013Blogspot

I am currently at the conference of the European Federation for Primatologists in Antwerp and last night during the opening session we saw a very inspiring and touching movie about the Virunga National Park in the Congo. This national park is known for the mountain gorilla population. The director of the national park, Emmanuel de Merode told us about his team of incredibly dedicated rangers that patrol the dangerous area to protect the Gorilla’s from rebels and poachers. Half of the rangers have died since he has been director and I cannot get this out of my mind. These are extreme conservation measures – and they work. The number of mountain gorillas in this area increasing more than anywhere else. But at what cost you would wonder? The rangers said themselves that they want to die to protect these animals. How committed is that? I often thought I was kind of radical or at least very committed  but I wonder when somebody actually keeps me at gunpoint will I still feel that committed? I would like to think I would, but I hope I will ever find out, despite the rare moments that I am threatened because of my involvement in the fight against illegal trade. Deep respect to all the rangers who fight every day to protect our beautiful planet.

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