Congo national parks threatened by oil drilling

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government  has taken decision to open up parts of two protected national parks Virunga and Salonga, habitat to endangered species such as mountain gorillas, to oil drilling.

Lifting of the protection of endangered species habitat evoked fierce opposition from environmental activists, who say drilling would place wildlife at risk. Many blame irresponsible attitude to the national parks to a weak democratic institutions in Congo, unable to protect the UNESCO protected sites in favor of oil industry.

Experts also fear it will release huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

DCR government has defended its right to manage resources of Congo, and said it was mindful of protecting animals and plants in the two UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Cabinet said it had approved the establishment of commissions charged with preparing plans to declassify sections of the parks, including 1,720 sq km (664 sq miles), or 21.5% , of eastern Congo’s Virunga.

 

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