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...

Explore VIRUNGA COFFEE LAUNCHES!

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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

February 8, 2018
Our Stories

Thank You for Your Commitment to Virunga in 2016

A personal note to all Virunga's supporters from Emmanuel de Merode, the Chief Warden of Virunga National Park.

Photo credit: Brent Stirton

Dear Friends,


As 2016 draws to a close, I want to take a moment to thank you for your enduring support of Virunga's rangers who are committed to defending the park at all costs.
It means everything to our rangers to know that they have friends around the world that recognize and support their efforts to protect the park’s unique wildlife, including the endangered mountain gorilla and elephant populations. So, on behalf of all the rangers, thank you for your kind efforts.


I want to briefly update you on our broader work to safeguard the park and improve the livelihoods of the millions of Congolese who live within a day's walk of Virunga. The Virunga Alliance; our sustainable development initiative, has made significant progress this year, creating the foundations for building a real green economy in North Kivu, which both safeguards the Park and supports local communities.


The welfare of Virunga’s wildlife and human populations are inextricably tied, which is why I’m thrilled to report that in 2016 we were able to:


  • Inaugurate eastern Congo’s first major run of river micro hydro plant, thanks to the help of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. The 12.6 MW plant delivers clean energy to a province which has until now had almost no electrification.

  • Connect 1600 households to our renewable energy grid. For the first time, these families are discovering the benefits of electricity, which means parents can now cook meals quickly on hot-plates without having to spend hours collecting firewood, schoolchildren can review their lessons after dark, and cell phones can easily be charged.

  • Break ground on Lubero, a second 13MW hydroelectric power plant on the Park’s western flank.

  • Launch a sewing workshop run by, and for, the widows of rangers killed in action. In addition to increasing their income, the widows are learning a valuable skill.

  • Add 114 new rangers to our ranks, including 13 female rangers. This brings the total number of rangers in uniform to 600, of which 26 are women.

  • We have, unfortunately, suffered hard losses as well - five rangers were killed in the line of duty during 2016 and their sacrifices weigh heavy on us.

I’m pleased to report that a detailed veterinary assessment confirmed that Virunga's mountain gorilla population is in excellent health. In fact, we have confirmed that the number of gorillas has actually increased. We will have to wait for the results from a genetic analysis to determine the exact rate of increase, but the numbers are looking very promising. The only recorded deaths in 2016 were attributed to a set of twins that passed away from natural causes within hours of birth.


Virunga’s hippo and elephant population did equally well in 2016. There were no elephants killed this year, due in part to the use of GPS collars which allow our rangers to better protect them. Our survey data shows that the park’s hippo population is on the rise; a strong indicator of the health of Lake Edward and a thriving hippo population which in turn encourages a strong fish yield for the fishing communities to harvest, consume and sell.


These are just a handful of the achievements that your support has contributed to and we’re very proud of all of our staff in working so hard this year. We plan for more progressed in 2017 and would be delighted to share the news with you when we can.


In the meantime, I hope you enjoy a safe and happy holiday and thank you for continuing to include Virunga in your giving plans.


Yours faithfully,
Emmanuel de Merode

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May 8, 2018

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

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

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.