Filmmakers who created a documentary based on the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park are asking viewers to support a campaign to combat development there. The World Heritage Site has been under siege by poachers and the Congo Civil War, and now British oil company Soco International is attempting to drill in the region.
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The Virunga documentary, which will be released this Friday, follows a group of park rangers as they do their best to combat the poaching and killing of endangered mountain gorillas. The film is executive produced by American film star Leonardo DiCaprio and will be released in both theaters and on Netflix. The makers of the film hope to force out oil giant Soco International and plan to out some of the company’s high-profile backers to aid in their mission.
The Guardian writes:
Joanna Natasegara, a co-producer, said: “Many funds and financial investments tie into Soco without people knowing. We want people to write to the [financial] companies and ask them if Soco intend to really stay away from Virunga forever and what they will be doing to safeguard the park for the future.”
Soco left the national park earlier this year but its presence since 2007 in the heavily-forested African rift valley has caused an international storm and has been condemned by Unesco, the U.K. government, and the naturalist David Attenborough. Environment and human rights groups, including WWF and Global Witness, have said that oil exploitation in the unstable region, which has seen up to six million people die in successive civil wars, could lead to a resumption of conflict and corruption.
Watch the trailer for Virunga below:
Attenborough has called on Soco to permanently leave the park via a statement to a newspaper over the weekend. And while Soco claims it has no plans to do any drilling in the region, filmmakers and advocates claim the company’s agents are still present in parts of the sprawling park.
You can help put pressure on Soco here.