Volcano eruption threatens in Congo
Mount Nyamulagira, 25km from the eastern city of Goma, erupted at dawn on Saturday, sending lava into the surrounding Virunga National Park. About 40 endangered chimpanzees and other animals live in the area.
Rangers were deployed to the area to monitor the flow of lava and were due to report back hourly, he added. A government official, Feller Lutahichirwa, said observers were monitoring the situation with help from UN helicopters, the Associated Press reports.
In the pre-dawn hours on Saturday, rangers at Virunga National Park were awoken by the sound of Mt. Nyamulagira erupting. Located 16 miles from the eastern city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park is home to the largest remaining continuous population of chimpanzees in the world.
Virunga National Park Director Emmanuel de Merode said that park staff, working in conjunction with civilian and military authorities, have been mobilized and continue to assess the risks and take appropriate action.
As chimpanzees live in tight-knit family groups, with communities numbering from 10 to 100 members, they are at greater risk of dispersal as a result of natural disasters. Without the protection of the troupe, displaced chimps face a greater risk of predation, by other animals and by human poachers.