For the first time, women have taken up the most dangerous job in wildlife, becoming para-military rangers at the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park and home to over 200 of the world’s 800 remaining mountain gorillas. For two decades it has been at the centre of a war. Hundreds of rebels operate in the park and over 150 park rangers have died protecting the land from them. These women take up arms to complete the daily tasks required of conservation, tourism, stopping poachers and armed rebels to protect their land and animals.
Monique Jaques is a photojournalist based in Istanbul, Turkey. She has spent the past five years focused on documenting issues in the Middle East as well as Afghanistan and India. After graduating from New York University’s Photography and Imaging program she traveled extensively through the region and landed in Turkey.
This year she was nominated for the Prix Bayeux- Calvados ‘Young Reporter’ award and was also placed on the ’30 Under 30 Female Photographers’ from Photoboite. Her project ‘Growing Up on The Gaza Strip’ was first published in the New York Times. She was also shortlisted for the 2013 Photocrati Grant. In 2012 she was selected as one of the recipients of the PROOF Award for the Emerging Photojournalist for her work in Post-War Libya and featured in the Bursa Photography Festival. She was also featured in the Ian Parry Scholarship show in 2009 and received an Honorable Mention for the 2008 New York Photo Awards.
Her work has been published by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, The Christian Science Monitor, The Economist, GEO, and TIME among others.