In disheartening news, suspected rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) killed a wildlife ranger returning from a mission to track endangered gorillas, eNCA reports, quoting the Wildlife Conservation Society.
The ranger, Oscar Mianziro, was reportedly killed last week in Kahuzi-Biega National Park in eastern DRC, where many militia groups operate.
Working as a game ranger in the DRC is a challenge considering the prevailing political instability, particularly in the eastern part of the country. There are risks of armed attacks from militia groups, and add to that, the danger of attacks from wild animals.
Recent cases: Attacks on game rangers
Last month, a militia group in the DRC’s Virunga National Park killed two park rangers, and a third ranger was reported missing, presumably at the hands of the militia group.
In October last year, Jean Claude Kiza Vunabandi, a ranger in Virunga National Park was killed by unknown assailants. Vunabandi left behind his wife, Aimée (29), and children La Vie (9) and Jancy (4).
Rangers in the DRC continue to perish in the line of duty and the recent killing of a park ranger in Kahuzi-Biega National Park highlights the worrying trend.
The casualty rates in the country’s game parks do not make for a good reading. Armed poachers and roving militias outnumber park rangers. The murder of game rangers continues to threaten the survival of endangered gorillas, at risk from poachers. The gorillas are sought for various reasons including for bush meat or for their body parts used in traditional medicines.
However, the rangers remain dedicated to their jobs despite the occupational hazards, and knowledge that the risk of being attacked is not far.