Already under pressure from habitat loss due to deforestation, mining and mono-culture farming, thousands of gorillas have been slaughtered for meat, their devastated, fragile babies sold as pets. These sentient family animals who, like us, exhibit joy, sadness, empathy and intuition... Who skilfully use tools, recall the past, and plan for the future.
But, do these sensitive apes actually have a future? With numbers declining, gorillas are in crisis, just a step from extinction. All species and subspecies are endangered or critically endangered. This is a disaster for gorillas AND people – these gentle giants play a vital role keeping forests healthy and our planet in balance.
A keystone species, fruit-eating gorillas spread seeds and fertilize soil with their droppings, helping shape their habitat so thousands of plant and animal species thrive. Trees growing from seeds take in carbon dioxide, store carbon (helping prevent climate change), release oxygen and pump water vapour into the atmosphere – delivering rain thousands of miles away.
Sharing over 98% of their genetic blueprint with humans, these are dark days for our close cousins the gorillas. But, there are glimmers of light.
This year, Born Free has launched a major new conservation initiative, working with local communities in Cameroon’s vast Dja Biosphere Reserve. We want to protect the 1,258 western lowland gorillas living in the rainforests of the Congo basin, as well as chimpanzees, forest elephants, pangolins and much more.
Your gift today can help rural people coexist with gorillas and reduce their reliance on natural resources. You can help cultivate sustainable crops, and teach school kids about conservation. You can support anti-poaching initiatives and train ‘ape guardians’ to patrol their communities. You can replant trees in degraded areas.
Find out how your donation can support and more information about the appeal at www.bornfree.org.uk/apes-on-the-edge