5-speed listening (Gold Mining - Level 6)

Congo gold mining threatening endangered species



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Species around the world are being increasingly threatened by human activity. Lamentably, hundreds of thousands of creatures have already become extinct as the result of humans' ever-increasing demands on Earth's resources. Gold mining in a national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is putting at risk an animal called the okapi. The park is called the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The okapi is also called the forest giraffe as it is a relative of the giraffe. However, its neck is nowhere near as long as that of a giraffe's. It is also known as the zebra giraffe due to its striped hind legs. The okapi is only found in the area of Congo that is being mined.

Conservationists have called for an immediate halt to the "rapidly expanding" levels of mining. They have urged the government to revoke the mining company's license, to "protect the unique forest ecosystem and the local communities that depend on it". The conservationists warned that: "Miners are literally eating the reserve out of its wildlife by hunting animals for food. There is almost no wildlife left around the mine itself, and wildlife numbers are massively reduced around mining towns. There have even been cases of armed hunters trafficking okapi skins and elephant ivory in and around the mines." They added that: "If the Congo government acts now, this unique World Heritage Site can still be saved."

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