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Friday, October 30, 1998 Published at 08:56 GMT

World: Africa

WWF warns Congo fighting threatens rare gorillas and rhino

The World Wide Fund for Nature has warned that fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo could have disastrous consequences for wildlife including the already endangered mountain gorillas and northern white rhinos.

The Fund said the increased presence of high-powered firearms and the disruption of conservation activities were a dangerous combination; the animals could easily fall prey to profiteering amid the chaos of conflict.

A spokeswoman said two mountain gorillas were killed last month.

Fighting by rebels trying to oust President Laurent Kabila is concentrated in eastern Congo -- the region where, along with parts of neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda, half of the world's remaining six-hundred mountain gorillas live.

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