Wednesday 15 October 2014

UN Envoy calls for increased efforts to protect Garamba National Park

During a visit to the 4900km2 Garamba National Park, the top UN official in the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) urged national and international actors to step up efforts in preserving the natural resources
and rich biodiversity of the Park  which is located in the north-eastern part of the country bordering
South Sudan and close to Uganda.

"Armed group activity is eastern DRC is largely funded by the proceeds from illegal trade and trafficking
of the country's rich natural resources," said Mr. Martin Kobler, who heads the UN Organisation
Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO)."Our efforts to track down these negative forces must also address the drivers of the conflict," he added in a statement released by his office today.

Poaching has greatly reduced the wildlife population in the Garamba National Park. Despite intensified
anti-poaching efforts, more than 60 elephants have been killed in the Park only since April 2014.The main perpetrators are armed groups, of which most dangerous is the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). It is
also thought that there is probable Military involvement as a Hind helicopter with Military style paintwork
has been observed over the Park on several occasions and families of elephants have been found dead  -
shot through the head from above. The tusks and trunks had disappeared and no trace of the poachers was ever found.

Mr. Kobler also prasied the efforts of the park rangers and others who help to protect Garamba. The park
has been run by African Parks, in partnership with the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la
Nature (ICCN) since late 2005.

Also with Mr. Kobler on his park visit were the Deputy United States Ambassador, the Moroccan Ambassador and members of the MONUSCO team.

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