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News, Tips & Bargains : Gorillas in Rwanda Said to Be Safe

July 17, 1994

The world has watched with horror as hundreds of thousands have perished in the bloody fighting in Rwanda. But lost in reports about the staggering loss of human lives has been any news about the fate of Rwanda's rare mountain gorillas, which live in the Parc National des Volcans and were Rwanda's main tourist attraction.

Last week, however, came word from conservation agencies that the animals appear to be unharmed--at least so far.

When fighting broke out in April, foreign scientists and researchers were evacuated, but the Rwandan park guards remained on duty, according to Henri Nsanjama, vice president of the World Wildlife Fund. The guards report that no gorillas have been killed.

Mountain gorillas are one of the most endangered subspecies on Earth. Only about 650 are left in the world, one-third of which live in Rwanda's northern mountains. Tourism related to the gorillas once supported the Parc National des Volcans and supplied tiny Rwanda with its second largest source of foreign exchange.

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