Congo Conflict Endangers Gorilla Population


Congo's gorilla population has been reduced by more than 75% in the past 20 years, largely because of violent conflicts in the central African state.  A recent report shows that in 1998 more 17,000 gorillas lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo, today only 3,800 live in the Congolese rainforests.

civil war has been raging in Congo since the middle of the 1990s, when hundreds of thousands of Rwandans fled their country. Since then over 5 million people have died.  In the remote areas of eastern Congo villagers have set up illegal mines to escape poverty and buy weapons. Because food is scarce they hunt wild animals in the forests and collect wood for cooking.

Grauer's gorillas, the species that lives in eastern Congo, are the largest gorillas in the world. Weighing over 400 pounds they can provide food for a whole village. They are easily targeted because they travel in groups.Now they are on the verge of becoming extinct.



Although native environmentalists are risking their lives to protect the gorilla population, they aren't really making any difference. The only way to save the gorillas from extinction is to end violence, disarm the armed factions and set up new, protected areas for the gorillas.



Related Topics



  • although = while
  • armed factions = the groups that have guns and use them in a war
  • civil war = violent conflict between two groups that live in the same country
  • disarm = take the guns away from a person
  • environmentalist = person who cares for nature and the world around us
  • escape = get away from
  • extinct = die out
  • flee - fled = escape from a dangerous situation
  • largely = mostly
  • illegal = against the law
  • mine = to dig valuable minerals out of the ground in order to sell them
  • native = a person who lives in the country
  • poverty = the situation of being poor
  • provide = give
  • rage = do something in a very angry way
  • rainforest = forest in the tropical areas with a lot of rain and vegetation
  • recent = short time ago
  • reduce = to become lower
  • remote = faraway
  • scarce = not enough
  • species = animals of the same group that live together and have babies
  • target = here: find
  • verge =  border
  • villager = person who lives in a small group of houses in the countryside
  • weapon = object that is used to fight , like a gun, bomb or knife
  • weigh = how heavy something is