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These Women Are Risking Their Lives To Protect Endangered Gorillas In Congo

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 19/02/2016 Jesselyn Cook
ATHENA IMAGE © Monique Jaques/Wonderful Machine ATHENA IMAGE

The lush green forests of Congo's Virunga National Park are home to almost half of the world's endangered mountain gorillas. The species' global population has dipped to less than 1,000, but in Virunga, numbers are on the rise. 

This is thanks in part to the hard work of Congo's growing team of wildlife rangers, who regularly put their safety at risk to protect the gorillas and their habitat from poachers and violence between militias and the Congolese army. In the past 20 years, more than 150 park rangers have lost their lives on the job

For decades, the esteemed job was only held by men. The first group of women to successfully complete the mandatory training became rangers in 2014, and now proudly serve to protect the 3,000 square-foot park and its furry inhabitants. 

Photojournalist Monique Jaques traveled to Congo to capture the stories of these women bravely working to keep the vulnerable mountain gorilla population in Virunga National Park safe from harm. Check out her remarkable photos below, which are also featured on Wonderful Machine.

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