Information came to light this week that over 500 elephant had been killed for ivory in the Virunga National Park in Eastern Congo over the past two years alone. The park is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Officials of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature, in short ICCN, lamented the fact of the increased poaching during a conference in Kinshasa and appealed for government support through greater funding and more resources to fight the menace, or else risk to have the elephant population decimated and wiped out completely.
The largely lawless East of the Congo, for long engulfed in civil strife with a number of militias fighting for economic domination of the mineral rich part of the Congo DR, has seen the largest deployment of UN peace keeping forces ever yet to little visible effect, as the national army continues its on again off again approach of selective and often half hearted intervention. This has led to suggestions of covertly being in league with some of the militias against sharing the spoils i.e. splitting the proceeds of gold and coltan mining, often gained by using forced labour abducted from villages away from the spotlight of the international media.
Poaching has also been reported for other endangered species and game and the local meat trade in the provinces of North and South Kivu is said to be dominated by bush meat with little visible efforts by the local administration to put an end to it, equally suggesting that corruption is at the heart of the Congos ongoing woes.