Decision : CONF 205 V.12
Virunga National Park (DRC)
V.12 In Virunga a joint monitoring exercise carried out by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), Fauna and Flora International (FFI), WWF-International and the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGF-I) revealed that the population of the mountain gorillas has increased from 320 before the war (1989) to 355 in 2001. Control of illegal activities in the southern sector has been more effective due to co-operation between staff and military forces. However, many other indicators of the site's integrity are showing negative trends: for example, 45% of the central sector of the Park is cultivated and nearly 2500 villagers reside along the Park’s boundaries in the central sector and are decimating the tree cover along the Kabasha escarpment. Cultivation of food crops, including export crops like tea and coffee, is rising in the eastern sectors of the Park. A large part of the Rutshuru hunting area is occupied by illegal settlements and plantations. In the northern sector, the 67,700 ha forest from Lubilia to Kasindi is invaded by logging groups and others who are illegally constructing houses with authorisation from local politicians. In 2000, more than 1500 animals of various species were killed using automatic weapons. The guards were not paid for several months and do not have weapons.