Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

2017
07.31.2018
Rangers Project
On #WorldRangerDay, we are so proud of the efforts of our rangers, who show dedication and resilience, despite the dangers they face.

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07.22.2018
Ephrem Balole, Manager of Virunga SARL, receives his PhD
Congratulations to Ephrem Balole, Manager of Virunga SARL, who received his PhD from the University of Kinshasa last week! Ephrem has been r...

Explore EPHREM BALOLE, MANAGER OF VIRUNGA SARL, RECEIVES HIS PHD

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06.06.2018
Rangers Project
We are so proud that Jolie, one of Virunga’s female rangers, shared her story of what motivated her to become a ranger at the European Devel...

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06.05.2018
Fallen Rangers Project
Representatives from the Rumangabo Widows sewing workshop attended the European Development Days conference in Brussels, where they showcase...

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05.31.2018
Virunga coffee launches!
One for the coffee fans out there: every purchase of Higher Grounds' Kawa Kanzururu Coffee goes towards supporting the development work of V...

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05.31.2018
Rangers Project
We are so delighted to share the news that the mountain gorilla population has surpassed 1000! Incredible news for Virunga and incredible news for conservation, and testament to the continued work of Virunga's Rangers in ensuring the protection of the species.

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02.13.2018
Fallen Rangers Fund
Children of the fallen Rangers playing in the child care center at the widows workshop! On-site child care reduces the initial stressors tha...

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12.05.2017
Fallen Rangers Fund
A total of 68 widows and 190 children of fallen Rangers, are now, thanks to the Fallen Rangers Fund, being offered financial support, education, and meaningful employment.

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09.11.2017
Rangers Project
Today, Park Rangers along with the Gorilla Doctors team successfully located the Rugendo group and removed a deadly snare from the arm of yo...

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07.30.2017
Rangers Project
Happy World Ranger Day! We are extremely proud and grateful to all our Rangers. These men and women are deeply committed to Virunga and ensu...

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07.29.2017
Rangers Project
Last week marked the completion of 5 months of incredibly tough training for Virunga's newest Rangers. 6500 applied, 81 made it through.

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01.12.2017
Fallen Rangers Fund
A beautiful selection of napkins made by the widows of fallen Rangers are on sale at Mikeno Lodge.

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Photo Credit: Brent Stirton; Logo Credit: David Shepard

Photo Credit: Adam Kiefer; Logo Credit: David Shepard

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: David Shepard

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: David Shepard

Photo credit: Orlando von Einsiedel

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: David Shepard

Explore Africa’s oldest and most biologically diverse protected area

Unlike anywhere else in the world, Virunga National Park contains some of the greatest national treasures on earth

About Virunga

Learn more

Stability through sustainable development in the eastern Congo

The Virunga Alliance is working to create an alternative economy that enables surrounding communities to benefit from the National Park

Virunga Alliance

Learn more

Meet the heroes who risk their lives to protect the Park’s wildlife and local communities

Rangers’ work is critical to the stability of the Park and the safety of the lives that surround it

Rangers Project

Learn more

Meet the orphan gorillas of Virunga’s Senkwekwe Center

The world’s only sanctuary caring for mountain gorillas separated from their families by poaching or conflict

Gorilla Orphan Project

Learn more

May 8, 2018
Our Stories

Emmanuel de Merode Running London Marathon to Raise Funds for Virunga

Chief Warden of Virunga National Park launches a $1 million marathon fundraising campaign

Photo credit: Brent Stirton

Dear Friends,


I am excited (if a little apprehensive) to announce that this year I will be running the Virgin Money London Marathon, undertaking the rather momentous challenge to run 26 miles (42 kilometres) through the British capital to raise funds for Virunga National Park. This decision has come as a surprise to family, friends, and colleagues alike!


It has also led to an extremely generous offer from Paul Leander-Engström, through his organisation The World We Want Foundation, to match every donation that is made towards my marathon appeal, up to $500,000. This presents us with a fantastic opportunity to raise $1 million for Virunga National Park.


It was just three years ago that I was left fighting for my life when I was ambushed and shot returning to the park headquarters. I was extremely lucky to have survived, and to be able to resume my work for Virunga within a matter of weeks. The incident could have ended very differently. In fact, over 150 of my colleagues have lost their lives protecting Virunga. This loss is something I carry with me every day, and I run this marathon in dedication to the memory of rangers and staff that are no longer with us.


The funds being raised for the Virgin Money London Marathon will be put into an endowment fund being set up to secure the future of the rangers and their families for years to come. Fallen rangers leave behind families who relied on them as the main breadwinners, and an injured ranger poses a financial burden on a family. The fund will be used to not only pay for pensions for those widows and retired rangers, but also help pay for medical treatment for rangers injured in the line of duty.


The brave men and women who fight everyday to protect the wildlife of Virunga National Park have driven me through the 5 AM runs, the night runs through the forest with only a head torch for light, and ensuring I commit the time needed to prepare adequately for this marathon.


There has never been a better moment to donate to Virunga. Every donation made will be doubled – so every dollar you give is 2 dollars to the park – and this money will continue to support Virunga, making a definite and lasting impact for decades to come.


My sincere thanks,


Emmanuel de Merode

Related Articles

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Rugendo and Nyakamwe families get a visit from the Gorilla Doctors

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August 14, 2018

Silverback Bukima displays stunning level of intelligence

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August 14, 2018

The valiant effort to save Silverback Noël of the Rugendo Group

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August 12, 2018

Grand Opening of the Ranger Widows Sewing Workshop

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August 12, 2018

Support Virunga’s Marathon challenge for 2018!

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August 12, 2018

Snares - the unseen killer lurking in the forest

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May 8, 2018

Virunga National Park merchandise now available online!

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February 8, 2018

The Rugendo family of gorillas in Virunga National Park is slowly regaining its former size.

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February 8, 2018

Virunga National Park is responsible for protecting the waters and fisheries of Lake Edward.

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February 8, 2018

A personal note from Emmanuel de Merode

Join the Effort to Protect Virunga National Park

You can make a difference by joining our community of dedicated individuals who aim to protect Africa’s oldest national park and bring peace and prosperity for the four million people who depend on it.