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Story Publication logo April 15, 2021

The Lungs of the Earth: Central Africa - Democratic Republic of the Congo (Spanish)

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This story excerpt was translated from Spanish. To read the original Spanish story in full, including videos and interactive graphics, visit El País. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.


In the green heart of Africa, in the interior of the Kivu province, located in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo and only a few kilometers from Rwanda and Uganda, lies Virunga National Park. Its 8,000 square kilometers comprise pristine forests, volcanoes, lakes and expanses of savannah, all in an absolutely unique combination of natural habitats. The park, which is home to numerous plant and animal species, is located in the only region in the world where mountain gorillas can be seen in the wild. Founded in 1925, when Congo was under Belgian colonial rule, it is recognized as the oldest national park in Africa and UNESCO has included it in the list of World Heritage Sites. Along with the Amazon and Borneo, it is home to one of the largest tropical rainforests in the world.

Parque Nacional Virunga

Aerial view of a map of Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It was established in April 1925 as Africa's first national park and became famous for its unique combination of natural habitats and wildlife. The park is under threat due to political instability, as well as pressure from rebel groups and the region's growing population.

Location: North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo
Area: 7,800 km²
Population surrounding the park: 4 million

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