A Boat Ride Into the Congo
At the moment we are deep in the Nairobi Headquarters section of the project; we have almost another month here yet. Our work is an eclectic mix of different aspects of different projects, from having sessions with different people and having the chance to seek out particular activities that we want to work on.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the African Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) brown bag meeting on the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF’s) African Great Apes Program—you can see that we love acronyms in conservation—on AWF’s behalf.
The Virunga Massif is divvied up among three countries, and there is a place in the Massif where Rwandan farmland abuts a Congolese park. On any given day, there is conflict.
Fifteen years ago, ranger-based monitoring (or RBM for short) was initiated as a tool in the conservation of mountain gorillas. Whether patrolling the park for law enforcement or tracking mountain gorillas for health assessments or to facilitate visits by tourists or researchers, data is being collected and recorded on data sheets. Every day. That's over 5,000 days of valuable data collected.
Three-year-old mountain gorilla Ngwino is dead. And contributing to her death was a rope snare set by a poacher to capture an antelope for wild meat. Sadly, she is the SECOND young mountain gorilla dead due to the actions of a human being in the Virunga Massif this year. With only approximately 780 mountain gorillas remaining, the loss of one mountain gorilla is a serious blow to this critically endangered species.