News from the Natural World: Shocking Virunga killings draw swift comments from royalty – Gorillas see red mist.
The devastating news that six rangers were killed in an ambush in Virunga National Park, DRC, has already attracted royal commentary. The Duke, known to be a strong supporter of rangers and personally invested in African conservation, made the following initial statement.
“The horrendous attack on the staff here at Virunga is abhorrent, and I condemn those responsible in the strongest terms.”
Speaking from home, surrounded by his family, The Duke elaborated further. “I think rangers are fantastic, Virunga wouldn’t exist without them. I very much doubt I’d have come to have this family without the rangers, maybe I wouldn’t even be here.” At this, his Highness looked sad, and his deep amber eyes sunk momentarily to the floor before he stretched out of his nest for a piece of bamboo.
“Seeing our cousins killed always upsets me,” said the royal, gesturing with the shoot for emphasis. “They were probably people I’d met, but they were certainly very young for such excellent primates, and they will leave families behind. I can’t imagine how terrible that must be for them. Some of the Virunga staff work with those of my people that lose their own families; the ones who can’t go on, or are too badly injured to fend for themselves. I’d like to offer to help in some way, but I’m always being told that my presence near the villages may actually put people at increased risk.”
Shocking Virunga Killings Draw Swift Comments from Royalty
In another pause, the respected Silverback scratched his chin and rubbed his chest before adding, “I feel in a way that I’m responsible for these deaths, not just because they occurred in my kingdom, but because perhaps these 6 brave men were killed for being seen to stand with me, and all that I represent. There are many people who wish to do away with me and everyone like me. And not just we gorillas, they’re after the chimpanzees too. Apparently maintaining the forest is burdensome, and they’d like us gone because there’s oil underneath the ground. That and some ideological nonsense that I simply can’t comprehend.”
“What really angers me the more I think about it is that they were ambushed. This was deliberate. Somebody sat there and waited to kill those people. I’ve been in my fair share of my fights, and though it’s not the best way of settling disputes I understand that sometimes violence occurs when you cross paths and no-one will back down. But this… Nothing can justify attacking people who work only to protect others. And it keeps happening.”
Gorillas See Red Mist
Suddenly the Duke jumps up, beating his chest to the alarm of family members, before sitting back down and fixing your reporter with a heavy stare. “Congo has enough problems to be dealing with already. War, ebola, coronavirus. Great apes of every kind are dying here each and every day, but I still want you to say them. Say their names:”
Alexis Kamate Mundunaenda;
Surumwe Burhani Abdou;
Prince Nzabonimpa Ntamakiriro;
Reagan Maneno Kataghalirwa;
Eric Kibanji Bashekere;
Innocent Paluku Budoyi.
These men were killed because they thought that gorillas should live.”
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