SOCO SUSPENDS EXPLORATION IN DRC
British oil company Soco International has announced that it will suspend oil exploration in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park. Virunga—Africa’s oldest national park—is home to a number of endangered species, including the mountain gorilla, okapi, and several species of rare birds. Although Soco’s exploratory activities in the park had been supported by the DRC's government, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and other conservation groups have opposed exploration, fearing it will hurt the park’s fragile ecosystem. In October, WWF filed a complaint against Soco with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, resulting in Soco's agreement to suspend further exploratory activities once it completes seismic testing in Lake Edward. While Director General of WWF International Marco Lambertini deemed the decision a “victory for our planet and for good practices in business,” the park may still be at risk of development, as 80% of the park is covered by oil concessions. For the full story, see http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/06/11/us-congodemocratic-oil-soco-idUKKBN0EM00920140611 and http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0611-hance-soco-suspends-virunga.html.