Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gorillas in the Congo - How Bad Will it Be?

You can visit the site of the park in the Congo in charge of gorilla protection. Mountain gorillas only live in one teeny area of the world, which happens to fall a little into three countries: Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Fewer than 650 are left in the world and they are all in this area. The Congo portion has historically been problematic, with gorillas getting murdered there, and sometimes the Rangers trying to protect them. The park in Congo, Rwindi, was recently taken over by the rebels fighting now in the Congo, and all the Rangers had to flee.

What's happening to the people in Congo right now is awful. Things have been awful for a long time there actually but now they are seriously heating up. I don't like how little coverage the situation gets on American news channels. Sick. We can drone for hours on possible cabinet picks but not spend more than 2 minutes on the Congo crisis.

In any event, I fear for the gorillas and their habitat. Things are bad for the people - but even if the worst happens the human race won't die out - the gorillas just might. Having seen them up close, including those pictures above, I can't put into words what a tragic loss I think that would be for the universe. I am all for helping both the gorillas and the innocent people caught up int he Congo right now.

I remember a spot near Congo when I came down a mountain in Rwanda that had been destroyed as gorilla habitat during the genocide and turned into a place crops grew and shacks were built. There were two little boys playing with two little goats. We didn't speak the same language and we didn't have good ways of communicating, but I loved the goats and I could tell they were fascinated by that. We played with the goats together, and I took their pictures and showed them to them on the digital camera, which highly delighted them. Though I wish I was there and I could do something - to protect the gorillas, the kids and the goats alike - there is not a lot I can do from here, but donate to those on the ground trying to make sure everyone survives.

Africa has the very best the planet has to offer - and the very worst.

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