Great Apes

Virunga National Park is the only protected area on Earth that is home to three taxa of great ape: the mountain gorilla, the eastern lowland gorilla, and the eastern chimpanzee. Through conservation efforts, Rangers and Park staff strive to support the growth of their populations, which are threatened by conflict, habitat loss, and poaching, and have wide-ranging ecological benefits for their habitats.

  • Mountain Gorillas

    Conservation efforts have helped the rarest of Virunga’s three taxa of great ape to recover from IUCN critically endangered status, but there’s still work to do.

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  • Eastern Lowland Gorillas

    Just seven eastern lowland gorillas remain in Virunga. While more prevalent in other parts of the DRC, they are classified as critically endangered due population decline.

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  • Chimpanzees

    The biggest threat to chimpanzees is human encroachment. Populations survive in isolated pockets across the Park, but efforts are underway to expand their savanna and forest habitats.

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As one of the most biodiverse places in Africa, Virunga National Park is home to over 200 types of mammal, including forest and savanna elephants, hippopotami, okapi, lions, and mountain gorillas. Each plays a role in maintaining the ecological balance of the Park’s varied habitats.

  • African Bush Elephants

    The Park’s population of savanna elephants is at its highest for 30 years. Learn more about these eco-engineers and the benefits they bring to their habitats.

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  • Hippopotami

    The common hippopotamus was once numerous across Africa. Despite the Park being a stronghold for this semi-aquatic mammal, human threats make conservation efforts crucial.

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  • Colobus Monkeys

    Unlike other primate species with opposable thumbs, colobus monkeys use their four hooklike fingers for grasping branches. Learn more about this monkey’s adaptations.

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  • Okapis

    Okapi are endemic to the tropical forests of the DRC. Once thought to be locally extinct, they have rebounded in the Park since their rediscovery in 2006.

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  • Lions

    Lions of the Ishasha Valley exhibit a specific type of behavior that no other local population is known to replicate. Learn more about Virunga’s top predator.

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