Oil exploitation threatens Africa's oldest natural park

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PLEASE NOTE: This guide was originally written in French. If you are using the English version of our site, you will see an automatic translation. You can change the language from the menu in the site header or see our English language guides here.

The Virunga National Park in Congo is part of the UNESCO World Heritage list. Despite this, this natural park is threatened since the oil hidden in its soils does not leave the refineries of this world indifferent. Let's find out about the impacts that oil exploitation would have in this region.
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“More than deforestation, poaching, the presence of armed groups, soldiers, or populations illegally installed in the park, it is the irreparable damage that a possible oil exploitation would cause that worries. "
Source: La Presse
It is not only poaching or the operation of refineries that frightens the population, many economic issues in these regions can explain the attacks against gorillas and those who protect them, such as the assault on Emmanuel de Mérode, director of the Virunga park.
The following activities will provide a better understanding of the challenges of oil exploitation in the Virunga park.
 


Goals

At the end of the activities, the student will be able to:
- Discover the different endangered species in this national park;
- Identify the countries surrounding the Virunga National Park;
- Name indices of economic value in Congo;
- Create an interactive map from real data;
- Identify different geographical locations linked to the national park on a world map.
 


Suggested Activities

ACTIVITY 1: The current situation of Virunga National Park

As a whole class, begin the activity by reading this item de La Presse in order to fully understand what is happening in Africa's oldest nature reserve.
Then, in teams, the pupils must complete the following reading sheet.

Click on the image to enlarge.
Download the file in PDF format (.pdf)

ACTIVITY 2: Interactive maps

First, show pictures of the Virunga National Park so that the pupils can imagine the fauna that can be found in the Congo.
In this item, several geographical locations are named. As a whole class, observe these different places on a world map or on Google maps. These are the following locations:
• DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo)
• Uganda
• Rwanda
• North Kivu
• Nile
• Muanda
Continue the activity by asking the students to create an interactive map of their choice, with the help of the site ThingLink from the different maps available on the official site of the Virunga National Park. Given the poor quality of the images provided, on the official site, your students will have to do additional research if they wish to properly identify the fauna or the diversity of habitats, for example. If necessary, consult the Thinglink tutorial available on Dailymotion.

ACTIVITY 3: The economic value of Virunga National Park

This activity addresses the economic aspects of the Congo as well as the Virunga National Park.
Print a single copy of the following report: The economic value of Virunga National Park.
Then assign the different sections of the report to different groups of students. You could also make the file available to all the students so that they can consult it on the computer or on a tablet to avoid printing the file.
Have students summarize the portion of the report assigned to them. Finally, they will have to share their learning with the whole group.
Here are the different sections detailed in the file:
Risks associated with oil exploitation:
Exploration
Extraction
Pollution
The curse of oil
Economic and social development
 
Economic and social value of the Virunga Park:
Peaches
Tourism
Hydroelectric power
Pharmaceutical use
Education and research
Carbon sequestration and forest preservation
Water supply
Erosion control
Future use of Park resources
ICT TRACK :
Have students make a graphic organizer using Popplet in order to relate the main information contained in the file under study.

For further

Invite students to sign this petition so that they can demonstrate their support for the protection of Virunga National Park.
 


More about the magazine

The director of the Virunga park leaves the DRC
Le Devoir, April 19, 2014
Congo: two orphan gorillas rescued in Virunga National Park
Gentside Découverte, October 3, 2012

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Designed to fill short periods or inspire larger projects, the activities offered in the SCOOP! allow the teacher to approach the subject matter in the program in addition to developing the information literacy and digital skills of the students.

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