Attacks on park staff, rangers, and scouts are always deeply disturbing to me. These true friends of wildlife and champions of conservation are on the frontlines securing parks, guarding wildlife, and protecting people living around wildlife.
Sunday’s attack, on Virunga National Park rangers by Rwandan FDLR militias—where one ranger was shot and killed and two injured—is the latest in a long history of rangers risking, and losing, their lives to protect treasured wildlife. More than 140 of Virunga’s rangers have lost their lives since 1996, but they continue to resolutely protect the park, and its population of mountain gorillas.
This is an area that is home to arguably the most endangered great apes in the world and DRC rangers continue to put their lives on the line on a daily basis. We owe a deb of gratitude to these wildlife heroes.
To Mbera Bagabo, who was killed on Sunday, January 12, while protecting the park and public from illegal groups, his family, and his colleagues in Virunga, we say words are not enough to express our gratitude and our deepest condolences.