Situated in a region which has been deeply impacted by the effects of war and armed conflict for over 20 years, Virunga is protected by the more than 700 Park Rangers team. These local men and women go through intensive training, risking their lives in a daily basis to safeguard the park´s wildlife. Alongside this conservation work, the park is committed to support local communities.
Virunga has a vision for responsibly harnessing the Park´s natural resources to create new opportunities for the region, creating jobs and reducing poverty, through hydropower, sustainable agriculture and fisheries, and tourism. This innovative, community focused approach to conservation is working to reduce the pressure currently faced by the Park´s Rangers from armed groups, illegal poaching, and land encroachment.
Over the past 20 years, Virunga has seen many periods of conflict, often beginning in or around the park. Eastern Congo is one the most economically disadvantaged places on earth, and competition for the Park´s rich natural resources has always been fierce.
Virunga and it´s partners, are committed to integrating the highests standards of community-based natural resource management by soliciting and incorporating input from the communities living around the park. Virunga authorities create and support multiple community forums that regularly consult with the local population to determine conservation and investment priorities.