The story of mountain gorillas in recent history is one of violence and turmoil, but also hope and fragile recovery. Through poaching, civil war and genocide, large-scale habitat loss, disease, and hunting for the pet trade, the mountain gorilla hung on. Then, with the help of conservationists and enlightened governments, the gorillas did better than that. Where they numbered perhaps 600 at their lowest point in the 1980s, today they are tipping past 1,000. “Kwita Izina” — an annual celebration in which Rwanda’s newest baby gorillas are named — last year named 19 new babies and the year before that, 22.
It was more than two years ago that AWF, through the African Apes Initiative, began reaching out to priority African great ape sites to offer our assistance in improving protection.
The Bili-Uele Protected Area Complex is the largest complex of protected areas in northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Bordering the Central African Republic, it harbours important populations of elephant and chimpanzee, plus a full range of forest and savanna biodiversity.
I’m just recently back in Lomie (on border of the Dja Faunal Reserve in Cameroon) from two days of practical training for rangers on the use of the CyberTracker/Trimble for ecological monitoring and anti-poaching.