In the pre-dawn hours on Saturday, rangers at Virunga National Park were awoken by the sound of Mt. Nyamulagira erupting.
In addition, the park is home to the endangered mountain gorilla, hippopotamus, leopard and other animals. The gorilla's are said to be safe as they live further east and are not in direct threat from the eruption.
Virunga National Park Director Emmanuel de Merode said that park staff, working in conjunction with civilian and military authorities, have been mobilized and continue to assess the risks and take appropriate action.
At 10,023 feet, Mt. Nyamulagira is the most active volcano in all of Africa. A shield volcano, Nyamulagira is built up by the outpouring of lava
With more than 35 documented eruptions since 1882, this towering volcanic peak poses a constant threat to wildlife through the destruction of habitat and through the displacement of animal groups.
As chimpanzees live in tight-knit family groups, with communities numbering from 10 to 100 members, they are at greater risk of dispersal as a result of natural disasters. Without the protection of the troupe, displaced chimps face a greater risk of predation, by other animals and by human poachers.
To learn more about the amazing chimps of Virunga National Park visit the African Wildlife Foundation.
To see more photos of the chimps and gorillas of Virunga visit National Geographic online.