Johannesburg, 16th April 2014. Greenpeace Africa is appalled by the ongoing violence towards environmentalists in Virunga National Park, reinforced by the recent shooting of the chief warden, Emmanuel de Merode. A Belgian national, de Merode has been working at Africa’s oldest national park, a World Heritage Site, since 2008.
“Emmanuel de Merode has been dedicated to the protection of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park for many years. This latest attack on the park is abhorrent because of Emmanuel's dedication to a place so at risk of irreversible environmental damage. Everyone at Greenpeace Africa wishes Emmanuel a speedy recovery and sends our best wishes to his family at this difficult time," said Sylvain Tardy, Programme Director at Greenpeace Africa.
Virunga is one of Africa’s most iconic protected areas. It is 800 000 hectares, home to a huge range of biodiversity, including the gorilla, but it is under increasing threat due to violence around logging, poaching and oil exploration.