Oil exploration on hold in Virunga National Park—for now
"We have rejected the recommendations of an environmental impact assessment conducted by the oil company, Soco, which we consider premature, superficial and which does not conform to the standards which we would expect,"
- José E.B. Endundo, the Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has suspended oil exploration in Africa's oldest national park, Virunga, until a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is conducted. The move ends oil companies, Soco and Dominion's plans to explore for oil in blocs within the park that were awarded to the companies last year.
Home to a quarter of the world's mountain gorillas, as well as chimpanzees, hippos, lions, forest elephants, okapi, and rare birds Virunga National Park is one of Africa's most biodiverse parks and is classified by the UN as a World Heritage Site.