With only around 700 mountain gorillas left in the whole world now, and more than half of them in Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, it is upsetting to hear that, “Congolese rebels have shot and butchered,” one of these individuals. This news comes from Reuters‘ “Congo rebels kill rare ape, raising survival fears.”

Ian Redmond, chief consultant for the United Nations Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP) takes the subjectivity of this tragedy out of context, and outlines how,

“In a population this small, every individual counts — and the loss of a trusting young silverback is tragic on many levels.”

Robert Muir, of the Frankfurt Zoological Society adds how the conflict between humans is affecting to non-humans,

“The future survival of this species is now under threat, and I fear that this recent attack on the gorillas could signal a wave of such killings if immediate action is not taken to remove Nkunda’s and his troops from their habitat.”

The gorilla was actually killed not too far off from a post that was abandoned by wildlife protectors because they were driven off by violence. It is really trivial to think these rebels killed this gorilla for no apparent reason, other than to show their ignorance in dominance over these species that are being protected by a regime they do not support.