There has been a lot of discussion of this issue, much of which has struck me as ill informed and somewhat hysterical.
So my ears pricked up last night whilst watching the latest episode on David Attenborough's Africa series.
Last night's TV programme included quite a long segment on Virunga and the mountain gorillas. I was struck by the fact that the region was described as the most intensively cultivated area in the whole of Africa. Gorilla numbers are down to 800 and in the face of increasing human population they have retreated up the sides of the mountains into what are now effectively little islands of protected forest which are disconnected from each other and which rise above the lowlands - which now contain hardly any remnants of the indigenous forest cover and its wild life.
Those who complain about Soco exploring the region for oil should watch the programme and reflect on the fact that nobody ever climbs mountains to look for oil. The exploration activity is not targetting the forests occupied by the gorillas but rather the low land areas some considerable distance away. If oil is found then the net effect will be to offer alternative employment to those who would otherwise have no choice but agriculture which would lead to more pressure onn gorilla habitat. It will also generate revenue for the government which would enable greater resources to be made available for conservation.
(Clearly that desirable outcome is hostage to the level of corruption that prevails - but that's another story)
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE PHOTOGRAPHS POSTED BELOW BY OTHER CONTRIBUTORS DO NOT SHOW VIRUNGA OR ANY OTHER LOCATION WHERE SOCO IS ACTIVE. AS FAR AS I CAN SEE THEY HAVE NOTHING WHATEVER TO DO WITH SOCO, UGANDA OR OIL EXPLORATION.
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