Virungas National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the many of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas, but if British Oil Company SOCO have anything to do with it, this vast expanse of land that borders the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda, could soon be exploited for its natural resources – namely oil.
One would think that as a UNESCO world heritage site, the Virungas National Park would be protected by both local and international forces, but the mountain gorillas and the habitat in which they live have long been at risk from armed militia and poachers, and now it seems, they face a new challenge with SOCO International.
Netflix recently released a documentary called VIRUNGA, which highlights the story of a group of people risking their lives to protect the Virungas National Park and its precious cargo of wildlife and rich natural resources from the dark forces that surround them.
A “powerful combination of investigative journalism and nature documentary”, this incredible true life story underlines the problems faced in DRC – a war-torn area of Africa, and calls on viewers to check their investment portfolios and pension funds to ensure they are not ‘unknowingly’ investing in SOCO International.
While SOCO claim to have pulled out of the Virungas in 2014, wildlife veteran, Sir David Attenborough called on the firm, which is registered on the London Stock Exchange, to withdraw from the region indefinitely. In a statement to the Independent on Sunday newspaper, Sir Attenborough said, “It would be extremely worrying if the great, rich and varied park of Virunga were to be exploited for oil. Not only would it threaten a park that is home to a vast range of wildlife including about a third of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas, but it would also send a worrying signal for the future of other world heritage sites. If the treasured Virunga Park cannot be protected from drilling, can anywhere else?”
The idea behind the VIRUNGA documentary is to promote awareness, and if you would like to help, you can spread the word via all social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, donate to the Virunga National Park Organisation, and sign up (on the virungamovie.com website) for regular updates.
With just 800 Mountain Gorillas left in the world, we all need to act if they are to survive in such a volatile area – they can’t do it alone!
Read more: http://virungamovie.com/ / Image: Across Africa