Six species discovered in Congo, four endangered gorillas shot

A research expedition to a remote forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo found six new animal species — a bat, a rat, two shrews, and two frogs — and may have found new plant species as well. The trip, which ran from January to March and was led by the Wildlife Conservation Society, represented the first scientific access to the isolated, violence-prone area since 1960. “If we can find six new species in such a short period, it makes you wonder what else is out there,” said Andrew Plumptre of WCS. Dreamy! But hold on to your feel-good hat: the country is also struggling with the aftermath of the bewildering late-July slaughter of four endangered mountain gorillas. Officials from the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization will venture to Virunga National Park next week to investigate and to encourage more protection. “If we can’t stop these attacks,” said Russell A. Mittermeier, head of Conservation International, “our closest living relatives will disappear from the planet.”