A history of success
We have been working to conserve mountain gorillas since 1979, when our vice-president Sir David Attenborough called a meeting with Fauna & Flora to discuss what could be done to save these great apes. Having just returned from filming mountain gorillas for Life on Earth, Attenborough was acutely aware of the threat these animals were facing and was determined to do something about it.
As he explains in the accompanying video, “When I came back…I knew exactly what I was going to do. I was going to get in touch with this society [Fauna & Flora], with John Burton who was then the Secretary of the Society, and I rang up John and I said: ‘What can we do?’
“And he immediately – as this society does – he immediately put things into action, and the society raised a very great deal of money.”
The actions that Attenborough describes led to the establishment of the Mountain Gorilla Project, which has since evolved into the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, a broader coalition formed in 1991.
This programme has achieved some remarkable successes over the years, including supporting the development of a landmark treaty which was signed in 2015 by representatives from all three mountain gorilla range states. The treaty has not only made existing transboundary conservation efforts easier but also enabled many more coordinated activities including landscape planning and the harmonisation of policies across the three states.
Since Fauna & Flora first began working with mountain gorillas, numbers have increased from just a few hundred to over 1,000 today – a testament to the hard work of all those working to save these incredible primates.
Learn more about IGCP’s work