We would like to congratulate the team behind the film Virunga for its Academy Awards Oscar nomination in the category of Best Documentary film.
This incredible film focuses on the many challenges faced by the park’s rangers during the recent M23 conflict and on efforts to protect Virunga from illegal resource extraction.
Among those featured in the film is André Bauma, the chief caregiver for four orphaned gorillas. In one of the most poignant scenes, André declares his willingness to lay down his life to protect the park’s endangered mountain gorilla population.
With more than 130 rangers killed in the line of duty over the last 20 years, André’s sentiments are not idle words.
Ranger Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo, the warden for the park’s Central Sector, echoes André’s feelings in the film. In several nail-biting scenes, the film shows Rodrigue facing great danger in his efforts to unmask apparent illegal activities that threaten the park.
Park rangers like Rodrigue and Andre – and Chief Warden Emmanuel de Merode, who sustained life threatening gunshot wounds following an ambush on his vehicle last April – are today the face of some 500 rangers that each day face the challenges of protecting Africa’s oldest, most biologically diverse, and most threatened national park.
We thank the filmmakers for dedicating this beautiful movie to the men and women protecting Virunga National Park. We wish them the best of luck on February 22nd, the day the Academy Award winners are announced.