The escalating violence in Congo had chased wildlife rangers deep into the wilderness weeks ago, and had long threatened to encroach upon the gorillas of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Well, now it has:
This is just the latest crisis within a crisis. Congo's gorillas happen to live in one of the most contested, blood-soaked pieces of turf in one of the most contested, blood-soaked corners of Africa. Their home, Virunga National Park, is high ground -- with mist-shrouded mountains and pointy volcanoes -- along the porous Congo-Rwanda border, where rebels are suspected of smuggling in weapons from Rwanda. Last year in Virunga, 10 gorillas were killed, some shot in the back of the head, execution style, park officials said.
The park used to be a naturalist's paradise, home to more than 2,000 species of plants, 706 types of birds and 218 varieties of mammals, including three great apes: the mountain gorilla, the lowland gorilla and chimpanzees.
Now Virunga is a war zone.