Protecting Mountain Gorillas in Virunga

Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is Africa’s oldest and most biologically diverse protected area. About four million people live within a day’s walk of the park’s borders. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Virunga is home to a quarter of the world’s 830 critically endangered mountain gorillas. The park features an incredible diversity of landscapes that include jungles, savannas, lava plains, two of the world’s most active volcanoes, the glaciated peaks of the little explored Rwenzori “Mountains of the Moon”, and Lake Edward – one of Africa’s Great Lakes.
Ever since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the region has been plagued with civil war. Blessed by boundless natural resources, minerals, and fossil fuel deposits, the area around Virunga has long been the target of organized and informal extractive interests. The numerous armed groups operating in and around Virunga play an important role in providing protection for the private companies and individuals trying to exploit the park’s riches.
Against the backdrop of war – and despite the death of more than 140 of their comrades over the past decade – Virunga’s 500 rangers continue to protect the mountain gorillas and other wildlife in the park.
Empowers Africa recently made a grant to support the widows of fallen rangers of the Virunga National Park in the DRC. As mentioned above, Virunga National Park has tragically lost approximately 140 rangers over the last 10 years leaving over 54 widows. To support the critical work of Virunga National Park’s rangers and staff you can make a donation by going to OR you can make a donation through Empowers Africa at Please note in the donation you would like the funds to be directed to the Virunga National Park and 100% of your donation will be granted to the Virunga National Park.