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Mountain gorillas threatened by rebellion in war-torn Congo

Phil Moore / AFP - Getty Images

Patrick Karabaranga, a warden at the Virunga National Park, sits with an orphaned mountain gorilla in the gorilla sanctuary in the park headquarters at Rumangabo in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Tuesday. The Virunga park is home to some 210 mountain gorillas, approximately a quarter of the world's population. The four orphans that live in the sanctuary are the only mountain gorillas in the world not living in the wild, having been brought here after their parents were killed by poachers or as a result of traffickers trying to smuggle them out of the park. "They play a critical part in the survival of the species" says Emmanuel De Merode, Director for Virunga National Park. He adds that the ICCN does not currently have access to the gorilla sector of the park due to the M23 rebellion.

Phil Moore / AFP-Getty Images

A Virunga National Park ranger from the Congolese Wildlife Authority (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, ICCN) stands at an observation post at Rumangabo at the edge of the Virunga Park in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday. The ICCN is responsible for patrolling the national park, which is home to approximately 210 mountain gorillas, around a quarter of the world's remaining population. M23 rebels now occupy Rumangabo and several other locations within Africa's oldest national park, which is also affected by other armed groups.

Phil Moore / AFP - Getty Images

A bloodhound and his handlers from the Congolese Wildlife Authority (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, ICCN), along with ICCN park rangers, take part in a training exercise at an airstrip in Katale in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

See more recent coverage in PhotoBlog of the rebel advances in Congo, and another post about bloodhounds used to track elephant poachers in Virunga National Park.

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