Guaranteeing the protection of vulnerable gorilla populations during the COVID-19 pandemic



Tourism is an essential component in the conservation strategy of the Virunga National Park in Congo, one of the last natural gorilla sanctuaries left in the world. However, all tourism activity has ceased due to the containment measures put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has not only negatively impacted the Park on a financial level but also on a logistical level: essential patrols and census are organized in coordination with visits

Pre-pandemic conservation efforts were already extremely challenging due to various political and security crises in the area. Furthermore, increased isolation has left the Park in a very exposed and fragile state. Mountain gorilla populations are now unprotected, and immediate action is needed if all conservation and protection activities are to resume.


  • Finance over 90 staff members who will carry out conservation activities at a pace comparable to a pre-pandemic frequency;
  • Support the local community by developing their agricultural activities and eco-tourism capacity.


  • Organize daily field missions with 42 guards and 60 trackers to monitor gorilla populations, both inside and on the outskirts of the Park

This project is a part of the IUCN SOS African Wildlife initiative, which is funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG Devco) through its B4Life initiative.

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