Where we are based
The mountain gorilla’s afromontane forest habitat straddles the shared borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Afromontane forest occurs at high altitude in mountainous terrain, usually in deep, steep-sided valleys and gorges.
The afromontane forests of the Albertine Rift are one of Africa’s centres of endemism, forming a vital refuge for many unique species of mammals, birds, butterflies and plants. They also serve as a crucial source of rainfall and help to reduce soil erosion in the region.
The Virunga National Park (formerly Albert National Park) lies from the Virunga Mountains, to the Rwenzori Mountains, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda. Covering 7,800 square kilometres (3,000 sq mi) it was established in 1925 as Africa’s first national park.
It was classified as a World Heritage Site in 1979. In later years it has become known for its mountain gorillas, although poaching and the Congo Civil War have seriously damaged its wildlife population. The park is managed by the Congolese National Park Authorities, the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature or ICCN (ICCN).