With the participation of Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund scientists and data, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently updated the Red List status of Grauer’s gorillas from “endangered” to “Critically Endangered.” Facing a decrease in population of 70-80 percent in the last 20 years, the Grauer’s gorilla is considered one of the 25 most-endangered primates in the world, and faces extreme pressures from hunting, illegal trafficking and unprotected forests.
The Fossey Fund has now conducted four years of continuous monitoring and protection of these gorillas, in important community-owned forests in the core of Grauer’s gorillas range. This critical work is paying off. As a result, we now have comprehensive data about these gorillas and have successfully reduced gorilla poaching in this area to undetectable levels! Our field teams have demonstrated that our community-centered approach really works, and efficiently reduces levels of hunting, and protects gorillas and other wildlife in an area where law enforcement is absent.
Our goals now include expanding this model to cover an area of forest that includes 300 Grauer’s gorillas, through increasing support from local communities and working with official Congolese wildlife authorities (ICCN).
We are now recruiting and training a fifth team of trackers from the local community, with priority given to former poachers and members of families who agree to have conservation activities on their land. Other activities include surveying new areas to identify additional populations of gorillas that need protection, studying the effect of mining camps on hunting activities, and working with local communities to provide food security through diversifying crops and improving farming practices.
“The Fossey Fund is proud to show that working in community forests, which lack a model for natural resources management, can be highly successful,” says Urbain Ngobobo, the Fossey Fund’s director of Grauer’s gorilla programs. “We are now seeing the differences made by our conservation efforts and our model is really working, in an area where many organizations don’t want to work because of the many challenges involved.”
Grauer’s Gorilla Congo Coffee Just Introduced
The Fossey Fund is pleased to announce that our long-term corporate partner, Thanksgiving Coffee, has just debuted “Grauer’s Gorilla Congo Coffee,” produced by a certified fair-trade coffee co-op in Congo called SOPACDI (Solidarité Paysanne pour la Promotion des Actions Café et Développement Intégral). SOPACDI was founded in 2002 to help bridge ethnic strife, provide a sustainable business opportunity for more than 5,200 farmers (20 percent of whom are women). The purchase of this coffee promotes these local livelihoods, and 25 percent of all online sales go to the Fossey Fund to support our ongoing gorilla protection work! For more details, go to: http://bit.ly/CongoCoffee