The Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has closed to tourists until June 4.
The announcement comes after two British tourists were kidnapped on May 11 and later released. Their ranger, 25-year-old Rachel Masika Baraka, was killed in the ambush.
Until the attacks last week, no incidents against tourists had been reported in the park. The kidnapping was resolved through co-operation between Congolese authorities, senior park staff and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
In a statement released by the park on May 14 regarding the closure, park management said: “We sincerely apologise to those visitors that have been impacted, and are committed to resolving their queries to the best of our ability. Our tourism team is on standby to discuss questions and provide options to guests who have visits pending or are considering coming to Virunga.” The statement reiterated the success of the park since it reopened: “Since tourism was relaunched in 2014, the Park has received over 17 000 visitors.”
The park, a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1979, covers 7 800 square kilometres (3 000 square miles) and is home to a quarter of the world’s mountain gorilla population as well as lowland gorillas, indigenous fish species and a number of volcanoes.