The Horror, the Horror
Poachers are wiping out endangered gorillas in the war-ravaged eastern section of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Only 70 gorillas remain in the highlands of Kahuzi-Biega National Park, compared with 258 several years ago. Kahuzi-Biega has been officially closed to tourists since August 1998, when military conflict in the region escalated. Unarmed park guards patrol the small highland area of the park, but 95 percent of the park, which encompasses lowland areas, has been largely off-limits to park officials for three years because it is occupied in part by militiamen. Officials say that about 8,000 gorillas were believed to inhabit the lower regions of the park several years ago, but that number has certainly fallen. The population of bush elephants in the park has also dropped precipitously.