Forest Of The Apes

There are now just over 1000 Mountain Gorillas alive in the world today. This project shows the daily hard work of dedicated organizations such as Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) and the Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA), who work in the Bwindi impenetrable National Park, Uganda. The recent history of the Mountain Gorilla is one of the great conservation success stories. In the 1980s Bwindi was under siege from loggers, hunters, miners, and farmers and the Gorillas were suffering. In 1991 that changed when the park was re-branded ‘Bwindi Impenetrable National Park’. This started the dedicated conservation era which has been very effective in recent years, so much so, the Mountain Gorilla is the only sub-species of Gorilla which is increasing in population. This led to an improvement of their population status from critically endangered to endangered.

 

For this conservation to be effective the organizations couldn’t just focus on the Gorillas. They had to help the people surrounding the park which includes techniques such as educating local people about the importance of protecting the national park. As well as creating alternative livelihoods such as coffee farming which reduces the need for people to go to the forest for resources decreasing human-gorilla contact. 

 

Some of the Gorilla focused conservation techniques are Gorilla health monitoring where UWA trackers observe habituated groups of gorillas daily to make sure the gorilla's health does not deteriorate. CTPH collect gorilla fecal samples to test for dangerous parasites that could have been transferred from humans. There are also Human Gorilla Conflict teams (HuGo) which herd the gorillas back into the park when they leave to eat farmers' crops, this reduces human-gorilla contact which reduces the risk of disease and physical harm to the Gorillas.

 

These techniques have worked so well these conservation organizations want to implement it on other gorilla subspecies habitats to try and turn the tide on their population decrease. 

© 2020 by Nick Penny. 

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