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Virunga National Park Essay

1618 words - 7 pages

Virunga National Park

October 22, 2011

Virunga National Park, originally known as Albert National Park, was founded in 1925 by King Albert I of Belgium. This national park stretches from the Virunga Mountains in the south, to the Rwenzori Mountains in the north, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering Volcanoes National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. Virunga National Park was founded primarily to protect the gorillas living in the forests of the Virunga Mountains controlled by the Belgian Congo. With the help of Congolese rangers and wardens, activities such as poaching were kept to a minimum and sustained while tourism began to flourish. Despite their ...view middle of the document...

Virunga National Park is home to approximately 200 of the world's remaining 790 Mountain Gorillas. The park's gorillas live in the Mikeno Sector, an area of forest situated on the flanks of a range of mostly dormant volcanoes. The mountain gorillas have been considered extremely rare and listed as one of the most critically endangered species. Despite being considered an endangered species, mountain gorillas’ population has been gradually growing thanks to conservation efforts. Their populations actually increased during 1994 through 2004, the years of political upheaval in the region, and have continued to do so even throughout the difficult period of 2007-2008. The 2010 Mountain Gorilla census has indicated that the conservation efforts of Virunga have been very successful regarding the Gorilla population. Plant life of Virunga National Park consist of mostly dense rainforest, savanna grasslands, low level woodlands, mangroves, and flooded forests.
Without plant life such as the rainforest, savanna grasslands, woodlands, and more, it would be impossible for animal life in Virunga to survive. The Rwindi Plains, and seemingly endless savanna, was once home to lions, elephants, and buffalo that were killed during the war years, but the population of large mammals living in the Rwindi Plains have be steadily increasing again. The mountain gorillas and c chimpanzees can be found near the Mikeno volcano which is mostly a dense forest with steep slopes. The eastern lowland gorillas can be found north of the Rwindi Plains in the Tshiaberimu Mountains. Smaller population of gorillas, the eastern lowland gorillas closely resemble the mountain gorillas. Some of the largest wild animal concentration in Africa occurs along the river of the park. Lake Edwards is home to Virunga’s hippopotamus family and is one of the most fertile lakes in the region. Deforestation activities and land cover changes probably poses the single greatest threat to biodiversity, resulting in habitat loss and fragmentation for wild species.
The human intrusions at Virunga National Park have been a major set of preserving the park and mostly its animal inhabitants. If these animals become extinct there will no more agents of distribution of plants in different locations in the park and beyond the park which helps enrich the park and its ecosystem? That is why UNESCO list Virunga National Park in danger in the 18th session of the World heritage committee in 1994. Influx of refugees is of greatest concern as human population in the fishing village near Lake Edward has increased several folds, posing a serious threat to the integrity of the park. These vast population increases continue to depend on the forest for food and charcoal for their daily living. Of all this human intrusions, one worthy of great concern is the management of Virunga National Park and to obtain local support for its conservation? This concern was raised by the World Heritage Committee in their December 1996...

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