Saving the Critically Endangered mountain gorillas
With fewer than 900 mountain gorillas left in the world today, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme - an innovative collaboration operating across the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC - is supporting rangers and local communities to provide effective, long-term protection.
The International Gorilla Conservation Programme is a long-term collaboration that will continue for as long as it takes to ensure the protection of this magnificent species.
Charity information: Fauna & Flora International (FFI)
Just two isolated populations of mountain gorillas remain, ranging across National Parks in the DRC, Uganda and Rwanda. Their vital habitat is at risk and needs protection. Forests have been destroyed for agriculture and access to other natural resources. As the forests shrink, there is greater chance of infections from disease. Add to this the unselective hunting, waves of conflict leading to the dumping of ammunition and other dangerous materials, and you have a number of serious threats.
The International Gorilla Conservation Programme is supporting rangers on the ground who are working with local communities - even ex-poachers - to maintain forests and stop their degradation. So far our work has led to an increase in gorilla numbers, but they are still Critically Endangered and on the edge of extinction. Our five-year plan to increase numbers to over 1,000 involves a crucial full gorilla census so that we know extactly where they are and what support they need to survive.
To increase the number of mountain gorillas from under 900 to over 1,000 by 2020.
Activities» Carry out the largest census of mountain gorillas to date, so we know exactly where populations are and what support they require to survive.
» Provide rangers with GPS equipment so we can better monitor the mountain gorillas positions and spot snares before they are laid.
» Working with local communities to ensure people live in harmony with the gorillas, developing sustainable agricultural solutions to protect habitats.
» Development of sustainable gorilla tourism. By encouraging visitors to the area, we are helping bring another vital source of income to local people.
What success will look like
A full census will give an accurate, up to date figure for the current populations. GPS equipment will allow us to track and monitor populations and track growth in populations.
A significant increase in the number of mountain gorillas in the wild (over 200% increase on when we first started conserving this species).
Sustainable livelihood activities for local people - including improved agricultural practices and gorilla tourism - will not only improve the lives of local people who are dependent on the natural resources in the National Parks, but will provide greater protection and increased funds for gorilla conservation.
Both demonstrated by ongoing monitoring.
Gorillas are particularly prone to diseases carried by humans. Visitors required to sign the 'gorilla friendly pledge' that establishes how close people can get to gorillas. All groups are led by experienced guides who limit exposure, and rangers monitor gorilla health.
Communities not co-operating on sustainable livelihood activities - FFI has much experience of working with communities, and has already established strong relationships with people living around the national parks.
We have excellent social media coverage with over 156,200 Facebook followers, 26,600 Twitter followers, 586,800 views on YouTube as well as accounts on Instagram and Google+.
We will also publish updates through our website and e-news list, as well as our annual magazine and quarterly newsletter.
Budget - Project Cost: £107,210Loading graph....
Amount Heading Description £70,610 Full Gorilla Census Carrying out a full census of mountain gorillas, including providing GPS equipment £36,600 On the ground protection Providing rations, training and equipment that's essential for rangers to provide robust protection
Two isolated populations of mountain gorillas remain, ranging across National Parks in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In all the project operates across the border of three countries that have suffered at the hands of civil unrest and illegal resource extraction, not to mention countries with some of the poorest people in Africa - situations that Fauna & Flora International have a great deal of experience of experience in delivering successful conservation projects.
Local communities rely on the National Parks, where the gorillas live, for natural resources, food, even to earn a living. This puts huge pressure on the Parks and leads to the degradation of gorilla habitat - not to mention the risk of human-gorilla conflict. The project, through developing sustainable gorilla tourism, sustainable agriculture and measures such as 'gorilla water', we're helping to provide a improved livelihoods to local communities - as well as increasing the number of gorillas
Mountain gorillas play a special part in our history. In 1991, with help from Sir David Attenborough, we set up the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) - a groundbreaking cooperation across national borders and park boundaries to preserve this species. 25 years later and we have successfully seen numbers increase as a direct result of this collaboration.
IGCP's successes have been many, and it really does represent the best chance to increase numbers to over 1,000 individuals.
Read more about the Charity running this project.
Anna Behm Masozera
Anna joined IGCP in 2010, becoming Director in 2013. Trained in forest resources and conservation as well as public communications.