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Volcano erupts, threatening endangered wildlife

Mount Nyamulagira, the volcano that destroyed much of the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002, has erupted again, threatening the Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Mount Nyamulagira erupted early Saturday in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo near the city of Goma, threatening rare wildlife species in the surrounding Virunga National Park, according to wildlife officials. But the eruption does not pose a danger to Goma, a local government said.

In an interview with the AFP news service, Feller Lutaitchirwa, the vice governor of Goma, said the city appeared to be out of harm’s way.

Mount Nyamulagira erupted in 2002, destroying much of Goma, and is about 22 kilometres away from the city, which is on the Rwandan border.

Lutaitchirwa also told AFP that the eruption started at 1:07 am local time, and that the lava is heading in the direction of Virunga National Park. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site, home to critically-endangered mountain gorillas.

Wildlife experts however say the mountain gorillas are safe as they live further east. But about 40 endangered chimpanzees and other animals living in the area are threatened, according to park officials.

 

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