On the evening of Monday 18 June, enthusiastic supporters of gorillas came together for a special Westminster reception hosted by Zac Goldsmith MP and the Gorilla Organization. Dedicated environmentalist Zac introduced the event by referencing his own personal, longstanding love of gorillas, while the Gorilla Organization announced the results of the latest gorilla census.
The Gorilla Organization’s Executive Director Jillian Miller explained that mountain gorillas are the only sub-species of great ape whose numbers are rising not falling: In the 1980s, there were as few as 240 left in the world and the legendary primatologist Dian Fossey predicted that they would be extinct within a generation. Now, however, there are 1,004 mountain gorillas left. This inspiring conservation good news story has been attributed to the work of conservation charities and NGOs such as the Gorilla Organization, as well as to the benefits brought by tourism and to the work of the brave rangers protecting the gorillas and their habitat.
“Our esteemed guests were delighted to learn that, according to figures released just a few days ago, mountain gorilla numbers have now broken the 1,000 mark,” says Jillian. “It’s thanks to the support of generous and passionate wildlife lovers like Zac Goldsmith MP that we are able to carry out our vital work keeping gorillas safe. Sadly, ongoing insecurity in and around the gorilla habitat means we cannot be complacent and we need to keep working to ensure we give our children and grandchildren a world with gorillas in it.”
The Gorilla Organization were pioneers in adopting a community-led approach to gorilla conservation. Their projects work with communities to ease the pressure on the gorilla habitat and they also support vital ranger patrols and important research. At Portcullis House, Jillian outlined the charity’s work in the Walikale Forest, DR Congo. Here, 14 years ago, a determined community elder requested the Gorilla Organization’s aid in financing and project-managing the protection of his local community forest, which he insisted was home to hundreds of undiscovered gorillas. Since then, the Max Plank Institute have confirmed the presence of 375 gorillas previously unknown to conservationists.
It costs the Gorilla Organization over £2,000 a day to help protect gorillas in DR Congo, Uganda and Rwanda, so if you feel like donning a gorilla suit, you too can help save gorillas by joining The Great Gorilla Run, an 8k run around the West End on 23rd September. If you’re not so active you can still support the Gorilla Organization by adopting a gorilla via their website, or making an online donation at www.gorillas.org.
NOTES TO EDITORS