This BBC video from Britain says about itself:
11 May 2016
This video says about itself:
VIRUNGA Documentary on Congo & National Park
30 apr. 2014
VIRUNGA, the documentary on Congo’s UNESCO world heritage national park that is under threat from oil companies. Complete with the trailer and film clips, we talk with filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel at the Tribeca film festival about making a documentary that explores the Congo, corruption, and foreign exploitation on BYOD-the world’s only all documentary talk show.
From weekly The Observer in Britain:
Saturday 7 February 2015 20.05 GMT
The Church of England is considering withdrawing its investment in a controversial British mining firm whose operations in a war-torn region of Africa have alarmed both human rights groups and environmentalists.
The church – led by archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, a former oil executive – has said that it may sell its near £3m stake in Soco International unless it receives a number of reassurances from the company, whose decision to carry out a seismic survey in Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo features in an acclaimed documentary backed by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Soco, which is valued at almost £1bn on the London Stock Exchange, is adamant that it does not operate in the mountainous Mikeno sector of the park, which is home to around half of the world’s 950 mountain gorillas. In a statement on its website, it explains “that it will never seek to have operations in the mountain gorilla habitat, the Virunga volcanoes or the Virunga equatorial rainforest, and this remains the company’s position”.
Last year the company announced that it was pulling out of Virunga following discussions with the World Wildlife Fund. The move came after pressure from the British government, Unesco and high-profile individuals, including Sir Richard Branson. The decision was presented as a coup for the environmental lobby. However, Soco made the announcement only after it had finished its survey. And despite the move there are fears that it may yet resume operations in the park.
Now Virunga, a Netflix film shortlisted for best documentary at this year’s Oscars and Baftas, has heaped pressure on the company to clarify its intentions. The movie’s website carries a statement explaining: “We are asking Soco to make a written commitment to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government to never again work within Virunga national park’s existing borders.”
The Church of England has become so concerned by Soco’s position on Virunga – partly in response to concerns raised in the film – that it is threatening to divest its stake if the company fails to provide it with reassurances in the near future.
In a statement issued to the Observer, the church said: “Following board-level engagement between the Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) and Soco International plc, the EIAG has raised serious concerns about the company’s determination to satisfactorily address, in an open and transparent manner, allegations concerning the operations of Soco in and around the Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Joanna Natasegara, the film’s producer, said she was delighted with the way in which the film had focused attention on what was happening in the park: “We always hoped the film would bring the story of Virunga to the fore. We are truly excited that the Church of England has responded in this way.”
It is highly unusual for the church to proactively reveal its investments, and almost unheard of for it to announce that it may sell a stake due to ethical concerns. Its decision to go public highlights its mounting frustration following 18 months of talks with Soco during which it sought reassurances regarding the company’s anti-corruption policies, human rights commitments and environmental obligations.
The church now wants a “transparent independent inquiry of Soco’s operations in and around” the park, and an “amendment of the previously issued statement agreed between Soco and WWF … so that there are without exception no circumstances in which Soco would conduct further exploration or production activities in the Virunga national park”.
Emmanuel de Mérode, director of the national park, who was seriously injured when he was shot during an ambush last year, applauded the church’s stance: “The church has worked very hard to understand exactly what is happening. They have taken direct responsibility to fully inform themselves on what’s been happening in Virunga. We think that is an extremely responsible position for a major investor to take.”
Soco claims it is authorised by the Congolese government to explore for oil in the park, but De Mérode disputes this. “They were given a concession called Block 5, but that concession is much bigger than the national park,” he said. “The fact is, in the initial agreement signed in 2007, it specifically says they have to respect conservation laws. They chose to go in the park, and that decision is illegal. Just because they were given a concession doesn’t mean they can do what they want.”
Soco said it did not comment on investors or investors’ decisions.
This video from Uganda is called Touched by a Wild Mountain Gorilla (HD Version).
From the BBC:
Wild gorilla creates a food tool in ‘eureka’ moment
For the first time, a wild gorilla is seen using a tool to eat food
It’s a scene that would grace the opening of any Planet of the Apes movie.
But rather than being fiction, this is fact, and one that is new to science.
For the first time, a gorilla in the wild has been seen using a tool to acquire and eat food.
The young female gorilla watched another older male attempt to collect ants from a hole in the ground, only to see the ants bite his arm, scaring him away.
The female gorilla tried to put her own arm in the hole, and she too was bitten.
But instead of giving up, the young ape then had her very own ‘eureka’ moment.
She looked around for a suitable implement, and selected a piece of wood approximately 20 cm long, tapering from 2 cm wide at one end to 1 cm long at the other.
She then inserted the stick into the hole, withdrew it, and licked off ants clambering over it, avoiding being stung.
Other great apes have been seen to use tools in the wild, and captive gorillas have been known to fashion and use a range of tools in their enclosures.
But the incident is surprising because wild gorillas were, until now, rarely known to have created and used tools.
The only known examples are when a western lowland gorilla was documented using a stick to gauge the depth of water before crossing a waterway. Another was been seen using bamboo as a ladder for her young infant to climb up.
But until now wild gorillas have never been seen using implements to eat with.
Lisanga, a very clever ape
The use of the stick was witnessed by Dr Jean-Felix Kinani, the head veterinarian with Gorilla Doctors, an organisation of vets that works with wildlife authorities to monitor the health of wild gorillas.
He and colleagues were observing one of eight mountain gorilla groups habituated to humans in the Volcanoes National Park, in Rwanda.
Within the group live 23 gorillas, including three silverback males, a younger male, and seven adult females, as well as juvenile gorillas and infants.
The veterinarians saw a gorilla named Kigoma, the second ranking silverback in the group, insert his left hand in to a hole in the ground, attempting to catch driver ants to eat.
He quickly withdrew it, and ran from the hole, shaking his arm, presumably remove the biting ants, report Dr Felix and colleague Dr Dawn Zimmerman, who are both affiliated to the University of California, US.
All the time, a younger female, Lisanga, watched his actions, they report in the American Journal of Primatology.
She approached the hole and for approximately two minutes watched the ants enter and leave it.
She then put her own hand in the whole, suffering Kigoma’s fate.
Undeterred however, she found her tool, a broken branch lying some 2 m from the hole, and preceded to use it to dine on the ants.
Chimpanzees are well known to use tools in the wild, with different groups using different implements; some use sticks to dig out termites or to fish or dip for ants. They have even been seen using spears to hunt monkeys.
Wild orang-utans in Asia have spontaneously created hammers, probes and scrapers made of sticks.
And in captivity, gorillas have been seen using sticks as weapons, using coconut fibres as sponges, and logs as ladders.
Which begs the question, why don’t they in the wild?
One answer is that they do, but it goes unnoticed.
Another is that gorillas are observed more in captivity, making it more likely that scientists spot novel behaviours.
But it could also be that captive gorillas have less to do than their wild counterparts, so are more inclined to experiment to fill the time, Mike Cranfield, Director of Gorilla Doctors told BBC Earth.
Captive gorillas often have new objects placed in their enclosures to enrich their environments, providing more opportunity for them to be turned into tools.
“Lisanga is a curious gorilla,” explained Dr Kinani. “She is known to have an investigative personality.”
For example, one anecdotal report details her showing more than casual interest in a researcher’s bag, quietly approaching behind the researcher and attempting to take the bag away.
“This looks to be an idiosyncratic behaviour,” he adds, referring to her use of the stick to catch and eat ants.
No other gorillas witnessed Lisanga’s actions, so it is unlikely that they too will learn the same trick, developing a culture of stick use.
This time, at least.
This video says about itself:
16 December 2009
This clip is the first professional video of the elusive and highly endangered Cross River gorilla. It is the world’s rarest great ape, numbering fewer than 300 individuals along the border of Nigeria and Cameroon.
From Wildlife Extra:
Gorillas benefit from new protection in Cameroon
The decree to officially create the sanctuary was signed by the Prime Minister of Cameroon, and will be the third such reserve in the country to protect the dwindling habitat of the Cross River Gorilla.
The gorillas in this region were only discovered relatively recently in the early 20th century, but following the Nigerian conflict during the 1960s it was feared that they had become a casualty of war and had become extinct. It was only during the 1980s that small groups of the Cross River Gorilla were rediscovered.
But their numbers in the wild have remained low in spite of conservation efforts. Living in the region of the Cross River, which flows from Cameroon to Nigeria and passes through rainforest, their habitat has become restricted to rugged highland areas where hunting pressure is lower.
Furthermore, the great apes’ habitat is surrounded by some of Africa’s most densely populated human settlements, and is become increasingly fragmented.
In order to tackle these threats to the gorilla, two reserves were set up by the Cameroon Government: the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary and Takamanda National Park. The addition of Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary marks a further move in the right direction for the protection of the Cross River Gorilla.
Prior to the decree to create the sanctuary, the forest was under communal forest laws, which allowed land to be converted for use for anything other than forestry. Organisation Flora and Fauna International have been working toward the protection of the gorillas in the forest since 2004, and understand that the creation of Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary will impact upon local communities, so will be involving them in the sanctuary design and helping them to find sustainable ways to earn a living.
… read more about the plight of the Cross River Gorilla here.
This video says about itself:
“Hope”, a film by Craghoppers featuring Sir David Attenborough
8 April 2014
Produced by Craghoppers and voiced by Sir David Attenborough, Hope was filmed in the Volcanoes National Park 47 years after Dian Fossey began her life’s work in mountain gorilla conservation. Only ruins of Fossey’s original Karisoke Research Centre remain — but we meet the research team in their new home, where 120 people continue Dian’s work.
Never before seen footage goes behind the scenes of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International as they intensely monitor the gorillas, with the help of a dedicated team of trackers and anti poaching patrols — whose job it is to follow the great apes every day, 365 days per year, through difficult and sometimes dangerous terrain.
The documentary also shows the very human side to the Fossey Fund’s approach to conservation as we follow the local people who live next to the gorilla’s habitat and the work that is being done to change attitudes. The children growing up in these communities today have grown to love and the respect the gorillas that their people once killed for their own survival.
More than 40 years of extreme conservation, which was pioneered by Dian Fossey, has resulted in the Virunga mountain gorilla population nearly doubling in size. However, the mountain gorillas remain critically endangered. Providing much hope for the future, yet highlighting the need for continued support, the film has one very clear message: we must support the people protecting the mountain gorillas — they are their only hope of survival.
From Wildlife Extra:
Mountain gorilla film wins award
A film highlighting the plight of mountain gorillas in Rwanda has won the Best Short Film award at the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, which runs from 13-19 October in New York.
Narrated by Sir David Attenborough and produced by Craghoppers, Hope revisits the mountain gorillas at the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, nearly 47 years after Dian Fossey began her work in the region.
“Our motivation behind making Hope was to highlight the extreme efforts adopted by the Dian Fossey Fund to protect the mountain gorillas in Rwanda and the sometimes dangerous challenges the team face every day,” said Managing Director for Craghoppers, Jim McNamara.
“It’s therefore a great feeling to know that a film that was designed to inspire and remind people about the plight of the gorillas has done just that in wider industry.
“I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved with this documentary. Winning this award is a not only a great achievement for Craghoppers and the team who produced ‘Hope’, but also for the Dian Fossey Fund, as the film will get in front of an even greater audience and will hopefully urge people to support the charity and donate to a very worthy cause.”
Read a field guide to mountain gorillas HERE.
This video from Congo says about itself:
13 March 2014
These local stories were filmed in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is a five part series of films dealing with oil exploration in Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and its potential environmental and human rights impact.
These films are intended to give a voice to local communities living in and around Virunga National Park. It is their voice, their fears and feelings about the oil developments in North Kivu.
“Virunga National Park: Oil, Conservation and Sustainable Development” highlights the value of the park and the challenges it faces. The oil developments planned in Block V have the potential to affect negatively the livelihoods of millions of persons and the long-term survival of the park.
After the collusion between Shell and other Big Oil corporations with violent gangs against environmentalists in Nigeria … the collusion of Shell with violent thugs against environmentalists in Ireland … now Congo.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
WWF Virunga campaigners ‘receive death threats’
Tuesday 13th May 2014
THE World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warned yesterday night that it had received “death threats” against staff fighting oil exploration in a Democratic Republic of Congo nature park.
“Unidentified callers have threatened two employees working in Goma,” a spokesman said.
The organisation said there had been an increase in intimidating calls, text messages and notes since park director Emmanuel de Merode was shot in April.
“The callers said they had missed killing De Merode but would not miss WWF employees,” the spokesman said.
“WWF insists that DRC authorities bring the perpetrators of these threats to justice.”
There has been mounting worldwide opposition to oil exploration in Virunga.
Unesco says exploration would breach international conventions but fears laws could be changed by the government to allow oil concessions to be exploited.
See also here.
The UK oil exploration company SOCO has agreed to withdraw from Virunga National Park, a World Heritage site in the Democratic Republic of Congo, following pressure from environmental campaigners: here.