Environmental Crime and Conflict in the Congo Basin: The Last Stand of the Gorilla – A report by UNEP & Interpol
Gorillas, the largest of the great apes, are under renewed threat across the Congo Basin from Nigeria to the Albertine Rift: poaching for bushmeat, loss of habitat due to agricultural expansion, degradation of habitat from logging, mining and charcoal production are amongst these threats, in addition to natural epidemics such as ebola and the new risk of diseases passed from humans to gorillas.
Alarmingly, parts of the region are experiencing intensified exploitation and logging of its forest, in some cases even within protected areas. In the DRC, many of these activities are controlled by militias illegally extracting natural resources such as gold, tin and coltan as well as producing charcoal for local communities, urban areas, camps for people displaced by fighting and sometimes even to communities across the border.
A victim of the human conflict between militia & conservation groups
These militias are located, motivated, armed and financed directly by this illegal extraction of minerals, timber and charcoal. A network of intermediaries including multinational companies or their subsidiaries, neighboring countries and corrupt officials, are involved in the transportation and procurement of resources which stem from areas controlled by militia, or for which no legal exploitation permission exists.
Rangers destroying a charcoal kiln in an effort to fight deforestation and illegal exploitation of resources by militia
To read the full report from The United Nations Environment Programme, click here