The BBC reports from Congo’s Virunga National Park,
Conservationists have expressed concern over the “senseless and tragic” killing of four mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The bodies of three females and one male were discovered by rangers earlier this week in the Virunga National Park.
Officials said the “executions” were not the work of poachers because they would have taken the bodies.[…]
Because poachers would have sold the bodies as food or trophies, conservationists think the apes were killed by a group that was trying to scare wardens out of the park.
Similar killings of mountain gorillas took place in Rwanda to get back at the late Dian Fossey, of Gorillas in the Mist fame. She was widely hated in the local community because of her outspoken racism and violence against local people. It makes one wonder if community relations in the Virunga National Park are as good as they should be. And do the benefits to the local population of Virunga National Park outweigh the opportunity costs of the park?
Update: National Geographic reports that “Virtually all the charcoal supplied to nearby Goma—worth an estimated U.S. $30 million a year—is made from wood harvested illegally inside Virunga National Park”.