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This year’s list of Oscar nominees has finally broken in the media. Surely you’ve already scanned the list for your favorite films and actors/actresses – we sure did! And we were so incredibly thrilled to see that the Netflix-released documentary, Virunga, has been nominated in the Best Documentary category.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the film, it was released in November exclusively on Netflix, with the help of Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company. The groundbreaking documentary looks into the current conflict of oil exploration in Virunga National Park. This special park is the oldest national park in Africa and boasts awe-inspiring sights and broad array of animal and plant species. Most notably, Virunga is home to the world’s last existing mountain gorilla populations. There are only 880 mountain gorillas left in the wild and as civil war and oil interests ravage Virunga National Park, these surviving gorillas are being put directly in harms way. The mountain gorilla population is at high risk from poachers, among other threats and as oil explorers and rebels enter the park’s bounds, the chances for their survival drops.

The park is home to The Senkwekwe Center, the only facility in the world that cares for orphaned mountain gorillas. Park rangers and volunteers put their lives on the line everyday to protect Virunga and its many species, but their story has largely gone unrecognized by a global audience … that is, until the release of this documentary.

Raising awareness for this national park is critical to change the tide for the better – for the park’s rangers and animals alike. Just as The Cove and Blackfish opened our eyes to the injustices facing animals due to human actions, Virunga inspires us to take a stand and help protect the park.

You can stream Virunga on Netflix and learn more about this fantastic film, hereVirunga may not take home the Oscar, but it has already won in our minds.

Image source: Virunga

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