Today I came across an article about threats to UN designated World Heritage Areas. By the way, World Heritage area designation is a way for the United Nations to begin to have a say about land use in sovereign nations. You should know we have some in the US too. Maybe you live in one and don’t even know it. But, that is another story.
The article that caught my interest said that a gorilla preserve,Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is threatened by refugees.
Virunga National Park has been on the list of World Heritage sites in danger since 1994. It faces threats from refugees, who set up home in the park, armed militia, and continued poaching and deforestation, particularly for fuel and illegal charcoal production.
In 2007, 11 gorillas were slaughtered in Virunga, out of the 750 that remain in the wild. A joint monitoring mission by IUCN and UNESCO was organized.
I don’t know if it will work, but frankly I was surprised to find a sensible (although short term) solution. The World Wildife Fund with Bruce Babbitt as chairman of the board ( Do you remember him?) is helping to create tree plantations and purchase wood for the refugees so that they will not have to enter the park. You can read about it here.
Here in the US, the subject of immigrants and the environment has caused a rift in major environmental groups with some members complaining that large numbers of immigrants will put a strain on our natural resources. (Yes, they will.) Fearful of veering from their leftwing roots (and annoying their leftist sugar daddies), most major environmental groups will not touch the immigration issue at all even in light of the obvious destruction of natural areas traversed by the illegals flowing in from Mexico.