Success: Endangered Gorillas Protected from Oil Exploration

Moutain Gorillas

Target: Ed Story, SOCO International President, CEO and Executive Director

Goal: Thank the company for ending oil exploration activities that threatened endangered mountain gorillas

The British oil company SOCO International has agreed to end damaging oil exploration in Africa’s Virunga National Park. The park is home to nearly half of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorilla population who would likely have been killed if oil drilling had continued.

Roughly 50 percent of the world’s 950 remaining mountain gorillas currently live in Virunga, according to the Guardian, in addition to other rare African wildlife like lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, forest elephants and okapi. These endangered animals have already been victims of armed conflict and poaching in recent years; oil exploration would likely have killed a large portion of the remaining mountain gorilla species by destroying their habitat and causing the animals extreme stress. Further, drilling could worsen rivalries among local militias and pollute Lake Edward, which provides an important source of food, water and jobs for some 50,000 local families.

SOCO International responded to strong opposition from conservation groups, including this Force Change petition, and worked closely with the World Wildlife Fund to come up with a solution. The company agreed to end drilling and exploration in Virunga and all other United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural (UNESCO) World Heritage sites.

Thank SOCO International for making the compassionate choice to protect precious mountain gorillas and other endangered animals by ending its oil exploration in Virunga National Park.


Dear Mr. Story,

Thank you for agreeing to end SOCO International’s oil exploration in Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park. This forward-thinking and compassionate decision has protected nearly half of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas, many of whom probably would have been killed were oil drilling to continue.

Virunga is the continent’s oldest and most biodiverse national park, not to mention a UNESCO World Heritage site. The survival of its many threatened species requires international cooperation. Oil drilling in Virunga would have destroyed this precious habitat, caused threatened animals extreme stress, intensified rivalries among local militias and polluted nearby Lake Edward. The lake is a crucial source of food, water, and jobs for approximately 50,000 families in the region. Other rare African animals like lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, forest elephants, and okapi have also been protected by your decision.

I sincerely thank you and your company for working with the World Wildlife Fund to reach a solution that prevents oil exploration in Virunga.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Carine06 via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. “So many people insist they are against animal abuse, cruelty, suffering and the inhumane treatment of animals, yet they don’t understand they are actively engaging in and supporting egregious suffering, abuse, cruelty and inhumane treatment when they eat animals and their ‘by-products.’ If you are against cruelty, suffering and inhumane treatment, then you go vegan. It’s just that simple.” – Sarah Kiser

  2. It is also true about leather, fur, feathers and any other products made from animlas that are killed to make us look good eg leather and furs.

  3. Manel Dias says:

    If any one knows that how hard Diane Fossy worked and how she sacrificed her life towards the maintaining of the existence of the Mountain Gorillas, I don’t think any one who have a right mind, would go forward to destroy the forests, simply to dig and find oil rigs. Thanks for your re-thinking of this situation. It is not the profit over a animals existence and their welfare should be the priority. When you destroy the animals you automatically destroy the planet earth, & then the entire world gradually. Let the planet earth exist and your own future generations need to live on this earth too.

  4. Thank you for caring about the gorillas — we need our gorillas, the planet needs our gorillas.

    Thank you for placing their well-being at the top of your agenda.

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