Hiking and Hacking Through the Jungle to See Congolese Gorillas

There are only about 700 mountain gorillas in the world; half of them are spread across a range of mountains straddling the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. Last month, rebels in eastern Congo killed and ate 2 gorillas living in that country’s Virunga National Park. Then amazingly, about three weeks ago, the rebels responsible for the slayings promised to stop killing the animals.

Travelers braving the 4+ hour hike into the park, shooting pictures of their experience with the gorillas, and then hiking back out, is one of the best ways to create awareness of these animals’ situations and bring them back from the brink of extinction. That’s where Mark Inns comes in.

Mark is a guy form the UK who decided to take a 16-month break and travel the world. One of his stops included a visit with these threatened, majestic creatures. Traveling with a local guide, Mark encountered a mountain gorilla family: a Silverback, 2 females, 2 infants, and 2 younger males. Here’s what he saw:

If you want to learn more about these animals, Wildlife Direct maintains a great blog updated regularly by a local wildlife conservationist: lots of news — and lots of pictures.

Word for the Travel Wise (11/13/06)

CongoEvery time I hear Amel Larrieux sing how she’s got to get to Congo I somehow fix myself to thinking I need to get there too and the Congo is really a place I’m in no rush to see. Still, I don’t mind picking up a few words should I manage to find myself there one day. As mentioned before I’m limited to good language sources for this particular tongue, so I’m reaching back into the English to Tshiluba quiz found at the Internet TESL Journal. Try this one and then sample Amel Larrieux’s music for yourself.

Today’s word is a Tshiluba word used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:

kulela – colors

Tshiluba is a Narrow Bantu also known as Luba-Kasai and Luba-Lulua. It is an official lang of the DRC in addition to French. Approximately 6,300,000 people speak the lingo and additional web resources are scarce. Feel free to leave a comment with any extra resources that could help others learn a bit more than what I’ve noted. You can continue learning the words for your own favorite colors by taking this English-Tshiluba quiz online. Chances are you’ll get all of them wrong, unless you’re an extremely talented guesser. After enough trial and error you’ll eventually be able to ramble off all the colors of the rainbow and have no one to tell them to, except in the Congo.

Past Tshiluba words: manimani, kalabi