226). This diversity in wildlife and plant life provided the park with its natural charm and made it a haven for animal and plant life. Sadly, this same characteristic of biological biodiversity was also the reason why it has been targeted by many individuals who seek to have financial profit by violating and exploiting the natural wildlife and plant life of the area. Included in the natural geographic territories of the Virunga National Park are water areas like Lake Edward, grasslands as well as marshlands, mountains and plains.
In all of these different locations, there are particular animal and life forms living and habituating the place, contributing to the overall ecosystem and providing the park with its natural biodiversity characteristics. The importance of the biodiversity of the Virunga National Park and the problems that it has to face regarding the deaths and destruction of flora and fauna is the reason for the discussion and examination of the important aspects of the preservation efforts at Virunga National Park. Discussion The biological interrelationships among the life forms in the area
The different life forms present in the area creates different types of interrelationship patterns. There is the predator-prey relationship among animals and plants as well. There is the dependency of one life form to another (i. e. the dependence of some animals to plant life for shelter and the dependence of plant life to animals for carbon dioxide, etc). There is also the destructive relationship wherein one life form is causing the death and destruction, and possibly even the extinction, of another life form.
A significant interrelationship of life form here is the relationship of man and animals. In one side, this relationship is the main reason why many animals from the parks boundaries and borders are killed (Stuart, Adams, Jenkins, 1990, p. 226). The main threat comes from over-hunting, and the populations of many savannah species are depleted (Stuart, Adams, Jenkins, 1990, p. 226). In the recent years, it was also this same relationship of man and animals that contributed to the condition of wildlife animals being saved and preserved from further exploitation and killing.
Humans and the animal life interact closely because there is a community of people living close by. It is expected that sooner or later, humans will explore the expanse covering the Virunga National Park for something that can benefit man (i. e. meat for food, or live animals as trading items etc). Fortunately, a more educated approach towards humans and animal relationship resulted to the preservation efforts focused on the area. The human intrusions threatening the area Human activities have seriously threatened life form inside the park.
For example, poaching undertaken by natives of Congo or by foreign hunters has decimated the population of particular kinds of animals in the area. During the Congo Civil War, the park was also one of the places that were negatively affected by the fighting between the two warring groups. Humans who live close to the park have made continued intrusions inside the parks territories. These intrusions resulted to many different effects. The land quality is affected by the constant pounding of human feet, while wastes coming from human activities and intrusion in the area contribute to making the condition of the park worse.
Activities of humans that are done inside the park, like hunting, burning of wood for food, etc. , are causing the erosion of the natural quality of animal and life form in the place. Human intrusions are actions that are believed to be one of the reasons why the natural biodiversity of the park is seriously deteriorating. Because of this, efforts at preserving the park considers as one of its key focuses the stopping of human intrusions inside the park so that further negative impact is avoided.
The protections that exist to safeguard and preserve the area The Virunga National Park is a World Heritage Site. This is one of the things to which the people depend on for source of protection so that the area has a means of safeguard from further exploitation. Being a World Heritage Site brings the park closer to the consciousness and attention not just of the local government but also to the attention of world organizations which contributes in protecting the place.
Organizations and institutions like Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature or ICCN and the Congolese National Park Authorities provide manpower and logistics to ensure that the park is consistently protected from aspects that can harm the animals and plant life inside. The interest of groups, like the European Commission, also provides the necessary influence and clout in the global community so that the park is better protected from acts of exploitation and the killing and destruction of animal and plant life is minimized as much as possible.
Preservation of animal life also necessitated the creation and implementation of new action plan, like the creation of environmental movement corridors, for example (Hudson, 1991, p. 123). Virunga National Park in Zaire, for example, perhaps the first national park in Africa, is complemented by movement corridors, as are several other East African parks (Hudson, 1991, p. 123). The efforts that have been made to further this preservation
Preservation efforts undertaken inside the Virunga National Park include the imposition of stricter rules and laws regarding poaching and the unnecessary killing of animal and plant life and the mobilization of manpower and resources which are necessary to the continued monitoring of the preservation efforts of the Virunga National Park. Perhaps the most important effort to further the preservation is about the continued focus of the action plan of involved authorities to protect the park in the long term basis.
Results of research efforts involving Virunga National Park and its animal and plant life in the recent years also contributed to the effort for further preservation by bringing the state and condition of the Virunga National Park to the attention and consciousness of more people in the hope to generate more support and awareness and to use this growing awareness on the problems of the park as a means to deter individuals from undertaking exploitative actions against the park and its animal and plant life in the future.
What an individual can do to help preserve the diversity of the area There are many ways wherein individuals can contribute and help in the preservation of the diversity of the area. First, individuals can be the places foremost guardians, reporting to the respective authority or agency incidences that can lead to possible further exploitation of the park and violation of preservation measures set in place for the park.
Individuals can also stop being the consumers for the products produced through the exploitation of the life forms of the Virunga National Park. Another way people can help is by lending their professional services to the park, especially if they believe they can contribute something significant, skills-wise. People can also blog or write about the park to promote it, and focus on talking about the importance of continued preservation and protection of the Virunga National Park and its animal and life forms.
Those who have the financial capability can help by giving financial support to the effort to preserve Virunga National Park and the animals and plants living inside it. Outside support is needed to protect Virunga National Park, which supports over half of the worlds seven hundred mountain gorillas (Leonard, 2006, p. 1712). Possible additional measures to insure the preservation of the property The preservation efforts and protective measures, in place for the Virunga National Park, is already sufficient for the time being.
There are still many other developments that can be put in place to further improve the protective actions and the ability of the authorities to preserve the life forms inside the park. Technological use and upgrade is first on the list. With proper and sufficient funding, the Virunga National Park can benefit immensely from using technological devices and equipment, from CCTV cameras to monitor the park more closely to tracking equipment placed on animals so that authorities will know if the animals are taken away from their natural common habitat and area of life inside the park.
The Virunga National Park can also use the information resulting from empirical studies and research, about plant and animal life, the condition of the park and the possible environmental condition happening in nearby places that can affect animal and plant life in the park or about practices of humans that impact the state and condition of life in the Virunga National Park. What will be lost if intrusion goes unchecked and the impact on biological diversity
Intrusion of humans inside the natural habitat of the animals and plant life inside the Virunga National Park and the resulting actions of humans life poaching, killing and hunting of animal and plant life, will sooner or later, result to animals and plant life being decimated from the area until there is nothing left. Original plant and animal life, once removed and decimated, might be replaced by other life forms which will take over what was left.
It is likely that with the destruction of plant and animal life, the park is risking losing biodiversity in the area and rendering the place desolated in the next few years if intrusion of humans continue to remain unchecked and uncorrected and if measures are not taken to stop this intrusions and to reverse the negative effects of human intrusion in the place. Conclusion This is the age wherein the world is being more and more conscious and concerned about animal and plant life, especially those which are in danger of being extinct forever.
Africa, believed to be the cradle of life, is a home to many animal and plant life. Places like the Virunga National Park is one of the places wherein conservation and preservation efforts can and should focus on because of how animal populations in the past are being decimated and what the people can do right now so that this problem is checked and corrected in time to save the remaining animal and plant life and population.
Hudson, W. (1991). Landscape linkages and biodiversity. Chicago: Island Press. Leonard, Thomas M. (2006). Encyclopedia of the developing world, Volume 1. Oxford: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Stuart, S. N. , Adams, R. J. , Jenkins, M. (1990). Biodiversity in sub-saharan Africa and its islands: conservation, management and sustainable use. IUCN.