The sound of gunfire shatters the pre-dawn stillness in Africa’s greatest national park. Six mountain gorillas are found dead. They weren’t killed by poachers, or murdered for sport. This was an execution calculated to make a political statement. National Geographic Explorer travels to Virunga in The Democratic Republic of The Congo to investigate the murders. Desperate refugees crowd park boundaries. Charcoal producers strip the forests. A ruthless rebel warlord invades the region. Chaos, corruption and civil war threaten to bury the truth – until this remarkable investigation unveils a web of deceit that leads straight to the heart of Virunga, and to the Park Rangers who are fighting to save the last remaining gorillas.
The film screened to a large audience on the National Geographic Channel both in the US and internationally and won prizes at film festivals in Brazil, the U.K. and the US. The wide distribution of Gorilla Murders helped raise significant awareness about the ongoing environmental consequences of the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It also exposed audiences to the courageous work being done to protect Virunga’s mountain gorillas by the Congolese National Park Services – and as a result viewers have made financial contributions to the Park Service allowing them to continue their important work.
National Geographic links:
Who Murdered the Virunga Gorillas? http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/07/virunga/jenkins-text
Conserve Virunga: www.conservevirunga.wildlifedirect.org
Wildlife Direct: www.wildlifedirect.org
By Jason Peters