U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Home Issues & Press Travel & Business Countries Youth & Education Careers About State Video

Endangered Mountain Gorillas

Claudia A. McMurray, Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Kigali, Rwanda
July 17, 2008

Just about a year ago last summer, seven endangered mountain gorillas were deliberately and violently killed in the Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The killings received worldwide attention including from the American people.

Immediately I and others at the U.S. Department of State began to dig into the cause of this tragedy. We discovered that the gorillas’ deaths were a symptom of the instability in the park caused by the presence of militia groups, rather than a result of the ongoing poaching activities that unfortunately still occur in some places.

So, we in the U.S. government became concerned that our long-standing traditional conservation work in this region, with our partners in the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, was under threat, along with the mountain gorillas and the people living around the park. It is for this reason that we decided to convene a high-level conference here in Central Africa –a ministerial summit—to attack these issues head on. This summit has just concluded. It was very, very successful, in our view.

You have seen the Rubavu Ministerial Declaration. In it, the ministers of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda emphasized their commitment to regional investment in tourism and related infrastructure to alleviate poverty and promote economic growth. Most importantly, the ministers underscored the need for security and stability in Virunga National Park if increased economic activity is to become a reality.

The United States is committed to pursue these goals with the governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda through the Transboundary Core Secretariat. We intend to work with other international partners to build on the work produced by this week’s conference to ensure that the precious resources of this region –most especially the rare mountain gorillas – can overcome recent threats and flourish well into the future.


  Back to top

U.S. Department of State
USA.govU.S. Department of StateUpdates  |   Frequent Questions  |   Contact Us  |   Email this Page  |   Subject Index  |   Search
The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
About state.gov  |   Privacy Notice  |   FOIA  |   Copyright Information  |   Other U.S. Government Information

Published by the U.S. Department of State Website at http://www.state.gov maintained by the Bureau of Public Affairs.