This article is published in partnership with: MCAD

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the blessing and curse of a wealth of natural resources, including copper, gold, coal, and crude oil. The country’s rainforests are also home to a whole lot of wildlife, including the elusive mountain gorilla.

On the one hand, valuable global commodities. On the other, ever-so-charming, 400-pound vegetarians that, over the long haul, have the potential to bring in more money to the country through tourism than the (often culturally exploitative) oil industry could.

The DRC’s history is complex, thorny, tragic, and gruesome, but here’s a slice of the backstory: The Congo was once the colonial property of Belgium. Really terrible things took place under Belgian rule, including slavery, plagues, and genocide.