Rangers Fidèle Mulonga Mulegalega and Venant Mumbere Muvesevese died doing everything in their power to protect the park. We all owe them a debt of gratitude for their sacrifice. Were it not for brave men and women like them, Virunga National Park would cease to exist.
Fidèle grew up in Goma and was 25 years old at the time of his death. He had yet to marry and start a family, choosing instead to focus on his new job as a ranger. Fidèle joined the ranger ranks in December 2014 and was highly motivated, according to his superiors. As a result of his skills and motivation, he went straight into Virunga’s most threatened sector upon graduation. As you can see from the pictures below, Fidèle had a great affinity for the wildlife that he protected.
With an injured Maribou stork rescued near Lake Edward.
With a baboon he befriended near his ranger post.
Ranger Venant was from the village of Mbingi in the Lubero territory and was 35 years old at the time of his death. He leaves behind his wife, Jeanne, and four children: daughter Venerande (age 8), son Vincent (age 7), daughter Verlene (age 4), and daughter Musavuli (age 1). Venant held the rank of Brigadier and was the leader of his ranger unit.
Photo of Ranger Venant during ranger training in Ishango
It is sad that we don’t have better images of Venant because, unlike the grainy photo above, he was a vibrant being. He was a known as great storyteller and was loved and respected by his rangers. The night before a dangerous operation, Venant could often be found telling stories to help his fellow rangers relax. Most of those stories left his comrades in fits of laughter. When it came time to carry out operations, though, the lighthearted Venant became intensely focused. Venant was a brave man and never hesitated when it came to facing adversity.
Rangers Fidèle and Venant will be sorely missed.
If you would like to honor the memory of these fallen rangers, please donate make a donation here. All donations will go to support Virunga’s Fallen Rangers Fund, which supports the families of rangers killed in the line of duty, and the rangers on the front lines that are defending the park.
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