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'Virunga' Trailer Depicts War Over Wild Mountain Gorillas [VIDEO]

Sep 09, 2014 04:39 PM EDT

The newly released trailer for "Virunga," a Netflix documentary, depicts the war over Africa's wild mountain gorillas, an endangered species struggling to survive amidst poaching and dwindling habitat.

Directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, "Virunga" follows a small group of park rangers and conservationists who are fighting to protect Virunga National Park, located in Eastern Congo, from armed militia, poachers and oil companies looking to drill on the land.

[Credit: Netflix]

Virunga National Park covers an area of 790,000 hectares (about 3,050 square miles), and includes a wide range of habitats - including volcanoes, savannas, marshlands and Monts Rwenzori, with peaks as high as 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) - as well as diverse animal species like the mountain gorilla, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

There are roughly 700 wild mountain gorillas remaining on Earth, but nearly half live in the forests of the Virunga mountains in central Africa, National Geographic reports. As their name implies, mountain gorillas live on the volcanic slopes of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo at elevations of 8,000 to 13,000 feet high.

Even though this region within the park is supposedly protected, as the "Virunga" trailer shows, gorillas living there have seen much human violence. The species continues to see threats from poaching and habitat loss as a result of growing human populations.

"This isn't a war yet, but it could be soon," a voice in the trailer warns.

Threats were so severe at one point that it was thought the species might be extinct by the end of the 20th century, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Mountain gorillas have thick fur, stand four to six feet tall and can weigh anywhere from 300 to 485 pounds, says National Geographic. In the thick mountain forests in which they live, they eat roots, shoots, fruit, wild celery, and tree bark and pulp.

Conservation efforts have found some success, with gorilla numbers totaling around 786 today from just 620 animals in 1989. But "Virunga" shows that the battle is not yet won.

"Virunga" will be in theaters in New York and Los Angeles and on Netflix on Nov 7. The film's website can be accessed here.

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