500 elephants killed in DR Congo's national park

KINSHASA: Over 500 elephants have been killed by poachers at DR Congo’s Virunga national park since 2010, a senior government official has revealed.

An official of the Congolese Institute for Conservation of Nature (ICCN) decried the incidents of poaching at the Virunga national park which is considered as a World Heritage site by Unesco, Xinhua reported Thursday.

Speaking in Kinshasa during an event organised to discuss the problem of poaching, Guy Mbuyama, technical director of ICCN highlighted the gravity of the threat.

“Since 2010, over 500 elephants have been massacred by poachers. The threat is real and if we do not take necessary measures then elephants may disappear from Virunga national park,” said Mbuyama.

Besides elephants, he said, the poachers were also killing chimpanzees, gorillas, rhinos, hippopotamus and Okapis.

The official expressed surprise at finding “a lot of bush meat in the markets in South Kivu and North Kivu provinces” and yet noticing that “the authorities were not raising any concerns”