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...

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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

August 14, 2018
Our Stories

Rugendo and Nyakamwe families get a visit from the Gorilla Doctors

During the first week of June, Gorilla Doctor Martin Kabuyaya and Virunga’s rangers performed routine health checks on the Rugendo and Nyakamwe mountain gorilla families. Both groups were found to be in excellent health and thriving. This is exactly the news everyone hoped to receive. To give you a better feel for the two families, we thought it would be helpful to share some of their history.

Janja’s baby striking a pose – Rugendo family
Photo credit: Gorilla Doctors

Janja - Rugendo family
Photo credit: Gorilla Doctors

Noël and Mastaki - Rugendo family
Photo credit: Gorilla Doctors

Kanyarunga and her baby - Nyakamwe family
Photo credit: Gorilla Doctors

Nyakamwe - leader of the family
Photo credit: Gorilla Doctors

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Rugendo family


The Rugendo family is comprised mostly of survivors of the shocking gorilla murders of 2007. This group has endured a number of hardships since that terrible day in July when six of the group’s 12 members were shot. In July 2009, rangers found blackback Bariyanga dead in the forest. His death was the result of a violent confrontation with adult males from a non-habituated group, but it was tragic nonetheless. Then in July 2013, the Rugendo family made the mistake of raiding a maize crop and were chased off by angry villagers. Janja’s baby was not fast enough to stay ahead of the people in pursuit and was fatally wounded by a machete strike. For the last three years, though, life in the Rugendo family has been good.


Nyakamwe family


Silverback Nyakamwe grew up in the Humba group and when he reached maturity, he began challenging Humba for dominance. These challenges went on for several years and both males inflicted serious wounds on one another. Eventually, Nyakamwe was able to split the group and start his own family. What goes around comes around though, and before long, Nyakamwe began having his authority challenged by blackback Semakuba. Silverback Nyakamwe remains in charge but he’ll need to be increasingly vigilant as Semakuba reaches full maturity.

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.

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