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.
This year the European Commission celebrate on It has taken action and joined up efforts with to fight trafficking of endangered species in the EU and globally.
The EU has already confirmed its leadership in tackling the illegal trade in natural resources by adopting ambitious policies on timber and fishery products. This EU Action Plan demonstrates that the EU is ready to live up to international expectations and commitments, and that it is raising the level of its ambition as regards action against the illegal trade in wildlife. The bloc will also help to ensure that the significant investments made over the last decades through EU development support for wildlife conservation worldwide will not be undermined through criminal activities.
Wildlife trafficking has a devastating impact on biodiversity, threatening to eradicate some species. Moreover, it both creates incentives for corrupt practices and is enabled by them, thereby undermining the rule of law. Notably in some regions in Africa, it has a very negative impact on the potential for economic development.
Wildlife trafficking is very attractive to criminals, as it is highly lucrative and, in most countries it has lower enforcement priority by comparison with other forms of trafficking, so the risk of detection and penalties is very limited. Links with money laundering and other forms of organised crime, such as trafficking in drugs and firearms, have been regularly reported. The UN Security Council has acknowledged that wildlife trafficking in Central Africa is fuelling conflicts and threatening regional and national security by providing a source of funding to militia groups.