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One of the world’s strongest and mightiest creatures has become one of the most vulnerable. Despite the ongoing successes in our work to protect Africa’s mountain gorillas, their numbers are perilously low. The mountain gorilla is a breathtakingly magnificent animal, but without continued protection the species will simply not be able to survive.
With just 880 or so left in the wild, their numbers are so small that a single disease outbreak could have a disastrous effect. Gorillas are highly vulnerable to many of the same diseases as humans. Because they have not developed many natural immunities, exposure to illness such as respiratory disease can devastate entire gorilla families. If that happens, mountain gorilla populations might never recover. That’s why we have no time to waste – we urgently need your gift of £ now to help ensure the health of the gorillas is protected.
You may already know about the special place that the mountain gorilla plays in FFI’s history.
In 1991 Sir David Attenborough joined with us to help set up the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), which aims to ensure cooperation across national borders and park boundaries to preserve mountain gorillas. Now the programme urgently needs our support as they work to protect extremely vulnerable mountain gorillas.
Their vital habitat is at risk and needs to be protected. Forests have been destroyed for agriculture and access to other natural resources. Alien and invasive species are encroaching into the parks. As the forests shrink, there is more chance of infections spreading, as infected animals will come into contact with each other.
There are other threats too. Some gorillas can lose their lives due to unselective hunting, where traps set for duikers (a species of antelope) or other animals can kill or maim gorillas. Waves of conflict have also led to the dumping of ammunition and other dangerous materials across the forests.
But there is something we can do, right now. With your donation today, we can help support rangers on the ground who are working with local populations and even ex-poachers to maintain forests and stop their degradation. A gift from you today would help us pay for equipment, training and rations to help the ranger patrols clear invasive plant species, metal, plastic and animal traps to make these areas safe for the gorillas. They will also monitor the gorillas to spot any signs of disease before it spreads.
So far, our work has led to an increase in the gorilla numbers. But they are still Critically Endangered and teetering on the edge of extinction. We cannot let the majestic silverbacks and their families die out.
As well as the vital short-term needs, we have long-term strategies in place to save the mountain gorilla.
Our five-year plan aims to raise the mountain gorilla numbers from under 900 to over 1,000 by 2020. And with your help, we can do it. We need to raise £107,210, which includes £70,610 to carry out a full gorilla census, and £36,600 to protect gorillas throughout the coming year.
A gift from you now could go towards vital GPS equipment, so we can better monitor the mountain gorillas’ positions and spot snares before they injure an animal. Your gift could help us carry out the largest census yet of the gorillas, so we know exactly where the gorilla families are, and what support they need to survive and thrive.
We are also working with local populations to ensure that people live in harmony with the gorillas, developing alternative livelihoods and sustainable agricultural solutions that won’t destroy habitats. For instance, we are supporting the planting of buffer areas that can prevent gorillas entering agricultural land and coming into conflict with the local people.
So far we’ve made fantastic progress in raising gorilla numbers through our work with IGCP – but the numbers are still so low that we must remain vigilant. Every gorilla is essential to our efforts. Please make a gift today to help us protect them.
…daily rations for a group of rangers on extended overnight patrols
…for three days’ training for a gorilla ranger
…GPS sensors to help monitor gorillas