Lava flow threatens chimpanzees

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 - 5:14pm

Wild chimpanzees in Virunga National Park are still safe from the deadly flow of lava off a volcano that erupted Saturday, according to Virunga National Park's website.

Park warden Innocent Mburanumwe wrote:

"We continue to monitor the wildlife situation. Fortunately the chimpanzees of Tongo are still out of harm’s way. Some antelope and other smaller animals have been spotted moving away from the flanks of the Nyamulagira, but so far we have no casualties to report on that front. It is of course hard to tell as we cannot get too close. We will be able to evaluate properly once all this has stopped."

One of Africa's most active volcanos, Mt. Nyamulagira, erupted Saturday, sending lava into the surrounding Park, which is home to 200 of the esimtated 700 remaining mountain gorillas. But the gorillas are further east and not endangered by the lava flow. As of Tuesday, the flow did not appear to be threatening the nearby city of Goma or any other human-populated areas.

The chimpanzee population in the area already has been severely depleted by fighting, and today is estimated to be only 40-strong. "We know they are there because we can hear them," a DRC park official told the New Zealand Herald.

Vivid volcano footage from NTVKenya

 

 

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