NEWS

Don't sacrifice apes for oil

Don't sacrifice apes for oil

The apes are in danger! The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is interested in extracting the oil found under the Virunga and Salonga National Parks - and wants to allow drilling.

The apes are threatened by human lust for oil. This formula synthesizes the fate of bonobos and gorillas. There is oil in the Virunga and Salonga national parks and the government wants to reduce these protected areas. Extracting the oil instead of protecting the apes - avoid it.

Some of the last mountain gorillas roam the forests of Virunga, a priceless jungle, while Salonga is the refuge of bonobos, another important species of great apes.

What good is having protected areas if politicians can just hand them over to the fossil fuel industry?

Virunga National Park is one of the most famous protected areas in the world. Some of the last mountain gorillas live there, strictly guarded by park rangers who risk their lives to protect the animals. Salonga National Park is a central habitat for bonobos. 40 percent of the world's population of these apes lives there.

It's no wonder that UNESCO declared the national parks a world heritage site in 1979 and 1984.

Now, the government of President Kabila intends to exclude part of the national park areas, because it blocks their economic exploitation and logging. The country has the right to exploit mineral resources everywhere, even in protected areas. If the plan were implemented, not even the highest degree of protection would be worthless.

At the center of the debate is oil extraction. In total, about 4,500 km2 would be released to oil exploration, according to Bloomberg they could even reach 16,700 km2. The ecological dangers are alarming. In order to find and obtain oil, the habitat of bonobos, gorillas and many other species is destroyed. In addition, forests of great importance for climate protection are cut down. The nesting area for migratory birds is also endangered. The river system of the Congo and the Nile.

19 environmental organizations in North Kivu province signed a letter in May with an urgent reminder about the consequences of the reduction of the national park. Now they want to mobilize the population of the region to pressure the government in Kinshasa. It aims to collect 100,000 signatures on a national petition.

Congolese environmentalists ask us to initiate an international collection of signatures for Virunga and Salonga.

Bonobos and gorillas need your signature. Join.

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Letter

To: President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Joseph Kabila and Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala Nzenze

Dear President Joseph Kabila,
Dear Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala Nzenze:

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites, crucial to the survival of apes: Some of the endangered mountain gorillas live in the Virunga National Park. And in the Salonga National Park an important population of bonobos that does not exist in any other country in the world.

That is why they have a special responsibility to protect the great apes.

However, his government plans to authorize oil exploration and production in the areas declared World Heritage by UNESCO and intend to reduce the size of the reserves for this purpose.

This would cause considerable ecological damage. If the Virunga and Salonga National Parks open to oil exploration:

- the habitat of bonobos, gorillas and many other species will be destroyed.
- Forests that are important to protect the climate will be cut down.
- nesting sites for migratory birds will be endangered.
- will be contaminated with the main river systems of the Nile and the Congo.

Your country is committed to protecting the UNESCO World Heritage. We ask that you continue to fulfill this obligation in the future, as you have done so far. The commitment of your government and the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the conservation of nature is crucial for the survival of gorillas and bonobos.

Please ensure that the UNESCO World Heritage areas are left intact and prevent oil exploration and extraction in them.

Kind regards,

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