Virunga is Africa's oldest National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its biodiversity ranges from savannahs to volcanoes, glaciers and snow fields. Virunga’s extraordinary landscape is home to an incredible array of wildlife, as well as more than 50,000 people who depend on Lake Edward for jobs, food and drinking water.
So says Wikipedia. More informations available there.
The picture below is a location map that I extracted from Google images. Just to show you its geographical state. For more information, try the search engine. This is only a story of how this parks existence came about into my life.
The date is still in my head, it was 26th of September 2013. While munching on a burrito at my favourite Mexican restaurant, I came across this cause through WWF's official Facebook page. A petition to stop oil exploration activities in Virunga National Park.
The image below speaks a thousand words. I kept thinking to myself, does it only take 300,000 people to stop oil invasion and exploration in Africa? Apart from that, is it okay to destroy homes of innocent creatures for the sake of money and natural resources? What have we become? Are we even taking responsibility of our actions? Have we forgotten that Earth inhabits other living things too?
I know animals and humans share the world together and its never a fairy tale over the past centuries, but lets put yourself in their shoes. Would you like it if I intrude your home, took your peanut butter sandwich and walk away? Also leaving behind a trail of gasoline, waiting to be fired up later. All I know, is I would be either beaten up until I crap myself or get caught by the authorities.
You might ponder, that's a little too deep, maybe irrelevant or stupid. Like how some would say ''its just a jungle'', I would say ''its just a peanut butter'' in return. Catch my point?
Thing is, animals have no authorities. We invaded their home, took their space and never learned to share. Authorities for wildlife conservation exist in a from of activists and naturalists, WWF is one of them. And I'm happy they are around. I know its not a fun thing, lets face a fact, we need wildlife to balance our ecosystem.
So approximately 8 months later, on 11th June 2014, the operations of the oil company comes to an end. A total of 750,000 joined this effort, signing the petition online, and it paid off. A breaking news for nature enthusiast and animal lovers alike. That's a huge variance from the initial plan of only 300,000. What does it tell you? Go figure.
The picture above circulated in Facebook and once again, ironically, I was munching on a taco at the same Mexican restaurant. Strange, but I believe the universe works in a very bizarre manner too. But we fail to focus on little things in life.
So we’re relieved that the most immediate threat to Africa’s oldest national park has now been removed. 25% of Earth's mountain gorillas have a home. I had a bad day, but this news made it all good.
The moral of this story? Well, I shared many times in Facebook. I even begged a few to sign up and vote. Some did it based on pure love and care. Others did it because they might need my favour in the future. I didn't care much, when their kids see a live silver-back one day, its worth it. The world lives in a barter system as we knew it. Worst part is, some even criticize me. But its a fair game. I'm all cool with it.
What I'm trying to say is, there's still greatness in the world. Only if you seek for it. Only if you believe in it. People assume its no more, spreading negativity along with their nasty attitude. This is one example, at least to me and my good friends who voted. Because I seek and believed in it.
How about you?
** The full WWf article is available at http://bit.ly/1qqxWlq.