If there had been a motto at this year's meeting of the Species Survival Network (SSN) in London, this could have been it. But even without a motto, the subject of the meeting was unequivocal. Representatives of more than 50 animal and nature conservation organisations, Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe among them, had come together from all over the world. They had gathered to consider how to address increasing international efforts to support the exploitation of wild animal species, and how these species could be better protected within the scope of CITES. Another important discussion concerned preparations for the next conference of the CITES signatory states, which will take place in Zimbabwe in 1997.
The SSN works exclusively within the framework of CITES, which means that demands that cannot be realised under CITES are not discussed. These would include an absolute ban on the trade of all endangered species. Instead, the SSN's aim is to improve existing regulations within CITES or to improve the protective status of specific species. This is not easy, as CITES is not really a convention on the protection of species but on the trade in wild animal and plant species.
An example may clarify this. The Malagasy civet (Fossa fossa), a viverrid and one of the few native predators of Madagascar, is currently listed in Appendix II of CITES, which means that controlled trade is permitted. As not even one specimen of this species was traded within the last ten years, it will probably be taken off the appendices during the next CITES conference. This would mean that uncontrolled and free trade would then be permitted. However, this species has either already become extinct in the wild or only very few individuals survive. Thus an endangered species soon may no longer be protected under CITES, simply because it is no longer relevant to trade. The Australian population of dugongs, threatened by extinction, faces the same fate. Only three specimens of this population reached the markets during the previous ten years, and this is not sufficient to keep it on Appendix II (that would require at least 30 individuals traded in the last ten years).
The precautionary principle for conservation is still valid
within CITES, which means that species whose population sizes are
not well known and which could be at risk from trade, can still
be listed in the appendices. However, many CITES signatory states
and numerous lobby organisations oriented towards the
exploitation of wild species are tending to "clean" the
appendices. This will steer CITES towards its original function
as a convention on trade and not on the protection of species.
The signs for Zimbabwe are already unambiguous. Apart from yet
more tedious discussions concerning the resumption of the ivory
trade, the conference is expected to be occupied primarily with
orienting the convention more towards trade. Under the omnipotent
banner of sustainable use, the conference is also expected to
discuss the resumption of trade in many species formerly excluded
from this. The following statement may clarify the seriousness of
this development. Henri Nsanajama, who manages WWF programs for
Africa and Madagascar, made this statement on the meaning of
sustainable use during a diverse panel of witnesses before the
subcommitee on Africa at the House International Relations
Committee) on 20 June 1994:
Protection of the environment must be balanced with the developmental needs of the people. Classic conservation (non-use) has driven some wildlife to near extinction and has deprived numerous other natural resources in Africa.
The SSN working group's discussion on sustainable use was of particular interest for us in view of the problems that have arisen in the Ugandan areas where gorillas live. The SSN tries to implement very tough criteria for sustainable use, unlike CARE/DTC. Supported by experts, the SSN will lay down guidelines and present these during the next conference of the CITES signatory states. Another SSN meeting is planned for next year. Its exclusive purpose will be the preparation for the next conference of the CITES signatory states in Zimbabwe.
Gabon has the largest percentage forest cover of any African country: 70 to 85% of its total area is covered with forest. A low overall human population density of 5 to 6 people/km2 (large areas in central Gabon are actually completely unpopulated) and difficulties of access are the main reasons why these forests have not yet been destroyed. About 20 species of primates occur in these forests, among them approximately 30,000 lowland gorillas and 60,000 chimpanzees. In addition, recent estimates give an approximate population of 60,000 elephants in Gabon.
Gorillas occur in almost all of the country's forests, excepting only those in areas with a high human population density and forest islands surrounded by savannah. In the western part of the country, the forests have been logged intensively since the beginning of the 20th century. Today, there are hardly any virgin forests left in this region. In 1987, Central Gabon was opened up by the completion of a railway linking the capital Libreville with Franceville and thereby traversing almost the whole country from the northwest to the southeast. The railway made timber transport much easier and thus promoted exploitation which, until then, had been generally uneconomical for most timber companies. When work on the railway line started in 1970, logging permits in Central Gabon were issued to assist the financing of the railway line construction. The whole area has now been parcelled up between large (mainly foreign) logging companies. In all, approximately 50 companies are currently working in the country. All operating companies practise selective logging.
Cheap Plywood from Okoume
From 1987 to 1991 approximately 68% of harvested trees were okoum, (Aucoumea klaineana), which is mainly used for plywood. One to three trees of this species are extracted per hectare (1.5 on average). According to estimates, by 1988 46% of Gabon's forests had been selectively logged at least once. Every year another 2,500 km2 of primary forest are exploited. Between 5 and 30% of the canopy is destroyed during this selective logging. Only the eastern forests, where okoum, does not occur, have not yet been exploited. Prior to the discovery of rich off-shore oil reserves in the 1950s, revenues from selected logging represented 90% of Gabon's income. In 1985, it only amounted to 6%. Since the oil price dropped in 1987, timber's share in Gabon's revenues have increased again to 12%.
In 1990, the IUCN reported that there was no evidence that selective logging as currently practised in Gabon is sustainable. Detailed studies were recommended. Creating an alternative timber source by planting okoum, trees in plantations has not been successful. However, this species is a pioneer, and it grows well in clearings in logged forest and can be ready for harvesting after 35 to 40 years. Currently, okoum, is planted only on 10 km2 per year in Gabon, which is equivalent to the area affected by selective logging in a single day. In the 1980s, almost 1 million m3 of okoum, were produced each year. To supply additional revenue, the Government required the production of more than twice this volume of timber. As additional stocks of okoum, were not available, companies were forced to exploit additional commercial tree species, which increased the damage levels in the forest. This procedure certainly can not be called sustainable use.
Consequences of Development
As in all other countries, logging in Gabon directly affects the rain forests through the disturbance of ecosystems and the construction of roads. There is also an indirect effect as logged forests are more easily accessible to hunters and settlers. The employees of the logging companies hunt in the forest using guns and snares. This practice is even continued long after logging. Primates including gorillas and chimpanzees are especially sought after.
The population density of gorillas decreases by 17% under only slight hunting pressure. Under severe hunting pressure, the decrease may amount to 72%. Professional hunting has a disastrous effect on populations of duikers and primates. Professional hunters operate mainly in easily accessible forest areas and supply urban areas with bushmeat. Professional hunting poses the greatest threat for Gabon's apes; in some areas they have already been hunted out.
Nature Conservation with Limitations
Gabon has gazetted 10 protected areas, but none of them has the status of a national park and all but the smallest one have been selectively logged. Since 1990, WWF has been developing a conservation management plan for the Gamba complex, which consists of several adjoining protected areas on the south coast. At the same time, WWF has been initiating community development projects, with financial support from the German BMZ (Ministry for Economic Cooperation) and Shell Gabon. Since 1993, WWF has also been supporting the establishment of another large protected area in the northeast of the country.
Research on Apes at Lopé
Lopé is a protected area of 5,000 km2 in central Gabon. In 1980, Caroline E. G. Tutin and Michel Fernandez started their work on Gabon's apes with a country-wide survey. With many other scientists, they have been working on gorilla and chimpanzee ecology and behaviour in this area since 1983. This project has been and is supported by numerous organisations, mainly CIRMF (Centre International de Recherches Medicales de Franceville), WWF, the L. S. B. Leakey Foundation, WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) and the National Geographic Society.
The observation of gorillas turned out to be much more difficult than in the Virunga Volcanoes. At the end of the 1980s, the researchers had habituated three groups which they called Porthos, St. Exupery and Petit Prince. These groups tolerated the presence of humans, but only at a distance of at least 25 m.. This distance decreased to 20 m some years later. However, the old leader of the best habituated group, Porthos, died in April 1993 after an altercation with another silverback. The group subsequently dissolved.
The valley of the river Ogooué, one of the borders of the Lopé Reserve, has been settled for about 400,000 years. Before agriculture was established, people obtained a great part of their food from the rain forest and they therefore competed with the resident apes.
Slash and burn cultivation has been practised for 1,500 years in the Lopé area. This has led to large areas on the middle course of the Ogooué, being covered by savannas. The forest will reclaim these areas, however, if the grass is no longer burned. Today, mainly manioc and bananas, which are not indigenous to this region, are cultivated in the fields. These crops were introduced into Gabon in the 15th century at the earliest. Occasionally, gorillas and chimpanzees raid plantations, which contributes to the conflict between people and apes.
Although Lopé is not a national park, the animals there are protected quite well. There is hardly any poaching at present. But even here two logging companies are harvesting timber, although law decrees that all plants and animals are completely protected. From 1990 to 1992, Lee White conducted a study on the impact of logging on large mammals. He observed that the population density of gorillas was not affected by the activities of logging companies. Chimpanzees, on the other hand, tend to leave logged areas. It may take 15 to 25 years before the animals re-settle these areas.
The EU-program ECOFAC (Conservation et Utilisation Rationnelle des Ecosystemes Forestiers en Afrique Centrale - Reasonable Conservation and Use of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa) started a project in Lopé in 1992. The project's leader, Michel Fernandez, has been training rangers and tourist guides. Since December 1994, tourists can visit the forest, savannahs and archeological sites in groups of 4 to 6 persons. To see a gorilla is a rare event, however. For this reason, tourism will never be as succesful in Gabon's rain forest as it is in the Virunga Volcanoes. It does not represent a viable economic alternative to logging. Caroline Tutin and Michel Fernandez thus consider international aid for Gabon as the only way to protect Gabon's virgin forests.
The Fight for the Bee Forest
It was not until 1984 that Mike Harrison discovered a new guenon species (Cercopithecus solatus) in the unpopulated Forêt des Abeilles (Bee Forest), which is an unprotected area adjacent to the Lopé in the east. This monkey has only a small distribution area which extends up to a part of the Lopé Reserve.
Shortly after this discovery, logging started in the Bee Forest. The Bee Forest is one of the last large areas of virgin forest in Gabon and especially rich in biodiversity. The start of logging activities represents a probable threat to the new guenon species. Despite its protected status, granted by the Gabonese Government in 1994, effective protection of the guenon could only have been achieved if the Bee Forest was also totally protected. IUCN had been working towards this goal for several years. Unfortunately,the entire forest has now been partitioned up in logging concessions.
Isoroy, a subsidiary of the German company Glunz AG, is licensed to utilize 2,980 km2 in this area on a 17 year lease. It takes out expensive advertisements for its logging activities in the Bee Forest and is applying to receive the "Eurokoum," certificate in 1996. Through this certification, the company hopes to convince consumers that its timber production is based on sustainable use. However, it is not evident from their brochures how their logging policy differs from those of their competitors. Isoroy (which is called Leroy-Gabon in Gabon) intends to utilize only primary forest, because the quality of timber from secondary forest is apparently not as good. This may in itself indicate that the company does not use the forest in a sustainable way.
From 1990 to 1994, François Lasserre and Annie Gautier-Hion conducted a study on behalf of Isoroy on the impact of the company's activities in one of its concessions in the Bee Forest. They calculated that about 2% of the area is cleared completely for construction of roads, loading areas etc. For every extracted okoum, log, an average of 8.5 trees with a DBH (diameter at breast height) of 10 cm or more will be destroyed, amounting to 6% of all trees in the area. This does not include trees that are damaged and may die later.
In all, about 20% of the rain forest is destroyed through logging activities. The canopy of 14% of the area will remain open two years after logging, and 6% of the ground is left completely bare. From their study, the researchers concluded that, although the degree of damage done to the forest is considerably smaller than commonly occurs in South American and in Southeast Asian forests, this does not mean that the biodiversity is conserved or that the exploitation is sustainable.
The French biologists Annie Gautier-Hion and Jean-Pierre Gautier have been working in various regions of Gabon since the 1960s. Since 1993 they have been working together with an international team of scientists in the research station at Makand, in the Bee Forest. The station is funded mainly by the EU and the French Ministry for the Environment and led by the institute BIOFAC (Biodiversité Forestiere en Afrique Centrale - Forest Biodiversity in Central Africa). Scientists at the station are to continue the research on various species of forest animals and plants and the impact of logging activities.
With many thanks to Reinhard Behrend (Rettet den Regenwald), Annie Gautier-Hion, Alain Audebert (Isoroy), Lee White, Juichi Yamagiwa.
In July 1995 already, the 27-year old lone silverback Salama died in Bukima; however, his body was not found until one month later. Since Jonathan Sleeman, the veterinarian of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Center in Rwanda, was not able to perform an autopsy until about six weeks post mortem, when the body was already decomposed, it was no more possible to confirm the cause of death.
On 13 August, two mountain gorillas were shot in the heart by poachers and killed, only a few hours after tourists had visited them. The silverback Rugabo (also called 'Marcel') and one of the females from his group were the victims. Jonathan Sleeman conducted an autopsy on Rugabo, who had been buried in a 3 m deep pit. Dr. Sleeman was denied access to the female's corpse. However, it is known that she was lactating. Rugabo's family was the first gorilla group to be habituated in the Virunga National Park of Zaire by Conrad and Rosalind Aveling. In March 1984, the Avelings initiated a gorilla project which was carried out until September 1989. During this period four gorilla groups were habituated to tourists and controlled on a daily basis. Since the bodies of the adult gorillas from Rugabo's group were not mutilated, it has been assumed that the poachers were after the female's infant. Indeed, a couple of days later a two-year old male gorilla infant was found in a nearby village and successfully reintroduced into the rest of the Rugabo group. But it can not be ruled out that other motives were responsible for the killing of the gorillas. Rugabo could also have been selectively shot in order to damage gorilla tourism in the Zairean part of the Virunga Volcanoes; often groups dissolve after the killing of their leader, and the remaining family members become very shy and nervous.
On August 29, another animal died, likewise by a bullet shot into the heart. The silverback Luwawa belonged to one of the "wild" groups which has since disappeared. His body was found at the foot of Mt. Mikeno, only five hours away from Bukima.
Compiled after news releases of the Morris Animal Foundation, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
Despite the presence of mines, poachers and refugees in their habitat, the Rwandan mountain gorillas are apparently doing well and many were born in 1995.
In April 1995 five females shifted from the Susa group to Pablo's group, thereby enlarging his family to 30 members during the summer. At that time, Shinda's group had 18 members and Beetsme's 22. Two members of the Susa group were entangled in snares on June 24th and 26th and were freed and treated by Liz Macfie. At the end of September, a 6 week-old infant had several strands of her mother's hair twisted around two fingers and could not free itself. This condensed deep lacerations, swelling and infection. Veterinarian Jonathan Sleeman anesthetized the mother, released the infant and treated the wound with antibiotics. A few days later, the fingers appeared to be healing well.
Eight looters removed the sheet metal roofs from Karisoke's cabins in April 1995. They were surprised in the act by Rwandan soldiers. One arrested man said that they were members of the former Rwandan army and had come from the refugee camp Kibumba in Zaire. Because of incidents like this, the Rwandan rangers controlling the Volcano National Park and the gorilla groups are still always escorted on their patrols by soldiers.
According to news releases from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and the Morris Animal Foundation.
The efforts of Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe and other German conservation organisations to resume their support for the protection of mountain gorillas in Uganda's national parks have unfortunately progressed little since the last issue of the Gorilla Journal was published. Uganda National Parks (UNP) still refuses to accept our conservation efforts. Not only those projects directly connected with the conflict between CARE and the Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe are affected by this, but also for example the project for land purchase at the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and a delivery of equipment for the rangers who work there. The required funds are available and could be transferred.
A decision on the management strategy for nature conservation in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is scheduled for March 1996. Eric Edroma, the director of Uganda National Parks, has informed us that all interested donor organisations may hand in management concepts including a prospective budget by March 1996. Based on the bids, UNP will then decide which concept would be accepted. This could end in a sell-out of the gorilla parks with the contract being granted to the organisation that provides the highest bid, irrespective of the management concept presented. According to recent information, USAID is ready to invest an incredibly high amount ($57 million) in developmental aid and nature conservation projects in Uganda over the next few years. Even the best wildlife management concepts would not be able to compete with such a massive potential financial input.
A petition from the Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe to President Yoweri K. Museveni for the re-establishment of conservation work in the areas where the gorillas live has so far remained without a definite reply. Likewise, our attempts to involve CARE in negotiations to develop a joint concept for nature conservation in Mgahinga have not met with any response. CARE can safely remain silent, since they know very well that they do not really need German support and cooperation.
Another development on the multiple use strategy, so single-mindedly pursued by CARE for the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, is in the offing. Eric Edroma has now said to journalists of the Zuricher Tagesanzeiger and of the German newspaper taz: "In my view, Mgahinga is too small for this. Multiple use should not be allowed." Sucker was and is right.
UNP appears to have suddenly dissociated itself from the implementation of multiple use in Mgahinga Park, which had sparked off the conflict with CARE in the first place. Liz Macfie, the project leader of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) in the Bwindi National Park, now also admits that Mgahinga is so small that the introduction of multiple use would lead to unwanted side-effects. This was precisely what Klaus-Jurgen Sucker had reiterated over and over again. UNP's Board of Trustees is scheduled to decide on the final management plan for Mgahinga towards the end of 1995. Chances are quite good that multiple use will no longer be considered.
There is little information concerning the situation in Mgahinga itself. It still appears that no foreign organisations are active there; UNP alone seems to be responsible for salaries, equipment and training of the rangers. CARE does not seem to work at all in Mgahinga Park, despite all the high- sounding promises made by its representatives to park staff and rangers last year (see Gorilla Journal 2/94). Currently the road from Kisoro to the entrance of the park is being improved. Most work is being done with heavy machinery, and the local population has hardly any part in it, rather in the style of the traditional developmental aid guideline: "Our intentions are the best ones, but we want to do it our way".
CARE still seems to have problems being accepted by the local population. In the Mgahinga area they are mainly involved in the construction of an educational training centre close to the park. That UNP has never seriously considered having German organisations return to the mountain gorilla national parks in Uganda has become clearer this year. As American money can only be channelled through American organisations, and American organisations clearly pursue a right of exclusive representation, it is difficult for non-American projects in these areas to continue their work. We will nevertheless take advantage of the opportunity and present a management concept to UNP.
Maheshe on a 50,000 Zaire note printed in 1991
Many former visitors of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park will remember the silverback Maheshe. His group was one of the two gorilla families first habituated to people. Until his death, this family was visited by tourists, and it was observed by many scientists and filmed by Alan Root for the film Gorillas in the Mist.
In 1971, Michael Casimir observed a group of gorillas in the Kahuzi-Biega consisting of 20 animals. In 1972, this number had decreased to 18. In 1975, the group's leader Kaboko was supplanted by a solitary silverback of about 15 years of age: Maheshe. He was possibly the son of Mushamuka, the leader of another habituated family.
After this change in leadership, emigration caused the number of animals in the group to decrease further, from 19 to 12. From 1978 to 1980, the group comprised 9 animals, and its size further decreased to only 6 individuals in 1982. In 1984/1985 the number of animals increased again to 16. The group had 28 animals in 1987, 25 in 1988, 22 in 1989, and 24 in 1990, and 16 shortly before Maheshe died.
In November 1993, Maheshe suddenly disappeared without trace. Finally, in August 1995, his corpse was located and unearthed after a tip-off from the local population. The head and hands were missing, indicating that Maheshe had been killed for the trophies.
Since then the poachers have been caught and confessed to the killing. They acted on the orders of a local ruler, who sold the trophies for a considerable profit. However, the exact connections still have to be investigated.
Many thanks to Fritz Dieterlein, Georg Dörken, Ute Eilenberger, Jörg Hess, Günter Merz (WWF), and Juichi Yamagiwa.
The research team currently works at Kasirusiru, Tshivanga and Tshibati, in the old part of the park. Gorillas and chimpanzees are sympatric at Kasirusiru and Tshibati throughout the year. Biological and ecological studies have been conducted on both ape species for 14 months at these two sites. Similar but sporadic studies have been underway at Tshibati since 1990. From 1994, a research team of the CRSN (Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles: Centre for Scientific Research) in Lwiro has been working in the park on a regular basis, together with the IZCN and the University of Kyoto.
The research team consists of four trackers and one ranger at Kasirusiru, led by biologist Mbake. The movements of large mammals along the road are observed by one tracker and one guide at Tshivanga. This team is also led by Mbake. In addition, they are surveying a botanical transect at Kasirusiru.
The team approaches the apes every day in order to habituate them to people. This habituation is a very difficult and lengthy process. A group of 12 gorillas (according to nest counts) is beginning to accept the presence of humans at Kasirusiru. They can be approached to a distance of 15 m in open landscape, and to 20-30 m in dense vegetation.
So far it has not been possible to estimate the number of chimpanzees. They move in small parties, and when a party is encountered it is usually difficult to identify the individuals. This is exacerbated through the animals' fear of people. Observing chimpanzees in dense vegetation is difficult, and following them is problematic since they like to move through the trees, jumping from one branch to the next.
Daily visits into the habitat enable us to compile a list of food plants. Direct observations are made when the animals feed, and the species of the consumed plants are moreover determined by identifying remnants of their meals found on walks in the forest.
In addition, samples of faeces are collected. Their diameter is measured with a measuring tape in order to determine the individual's age. Samples are then put into plastic bags. Later water is added and the diluted faeces are put through a sieve with a mesh of 1 mm diameter. After that they are dried and stored away for laboratory analysis. When the components of the samples are sorted, leaves are seperated from fruit and other parts such as meat, bones, seeds, insects, honey and soil. The percentage representation of each component is determined.
By surveying the movements of gorillas and chimpanzees on a regular basis in their natural environment, we are able to determine their distribution in various biotopes. To identify locations, we use an altimeter and a compass. These locations of fresh tracks of gorillas and chimpanzees are indicated in a map.
A transect of 4,700 m length and 20 m width (10 m on both sides of the trail) was marked at Kasirusiru. All fruit trees and fruit bushes are recorded on this transect. Every 50 m certain factors such as topography and forest type are noted. When we walk the transect, we write down which trees are flowering or fruiting, especially for those species that provide food for apes and other large mammals. These data help to explain how primates range in order to find food.
The research team has been walking six transects on both sides of the road every two weeks. Since February, this has been intensified to a weekly programme to have a better overview how many animals cross the road. This will give us an idea of how frequently interchanges between populations on both sides of the road take place.
A great threat to the corridor that connects the mountain forest to the lowland forest, is illegal settlement by large farmers. In a study carried out at both ends of the corridor from July to August 1995, we could show that large mammals no longer move between the two parts of the park. In August 1995, the Kasirusiru sector was devastated by a fire that was started by a farmer who illegally cultivated land in the park. It affected the central biotopes which are used by both species of apes and other animals: the bamboo forest and the secondary forest with Hagenia. The fire caused a mass movement of animals into the northeastern part of the Park, which made the observations of chimpanzees and gorillas especially difficult in August and September.
From May 12 to June 16 1996, artists' works on the theme "gorilla" will be exhibited in the museum Alexander Koenig in Bonn. During this time, visitors to the museum may visit this exhibition in the "Kuppelsaal", and they have the opportunity to reserve items they may wish to buy. All participants have donated their works or will donate part of the proceeds from sales to the Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe.
Some artists had their attention drawn to Gorillas im Rahmen by the article in the 1/1995 issue of the Gorilla Journal, and many were asked directly by the working group. Others heard about the exhibition plans through the Bundesverband der Bildenden Künstlerinnen und Künstler, Bezirksverband Bonn, Rhein-Sieg (Federal Association of Visual Artists, Regional Association Bonn, Rhein-Sieg) that sent information about the project to its members. The Panda mail-order company also supported the project by forwarding information on the exhibition directly to the artists working for Panda. The first replies were received only a few days after the mailing. So far we have received for example a lifesize gorilla painting in oils, works by the well-known animal painter Helene Moch, photographic art objects and numerous objects and pictures in which the artists have approached the subject in various ways.
The working group is trying to make even more contacts to enlarge the range of objects in the exhibition as far as possible. Any artists whose have become interested by reading this article, can contribute their work until the beginning of March. To facilitate the organization of the exhibition, the prospective exibitors should contact one of the persons mentioned at the end of this article; only with the actual number, the working group can plan the arrangement of the objects in the exhibition. All objects will be insured beforehand for the value given by the respective artists. We will be able to help with the framing of paintings in some cases.
A reading is planned for the opening of the exhibition, and in addition, an African music group will provide entertainment. Anybody interested in attending should contact one of the organizers listed below for times and items on the program. As mentioned already, a large showcase will display everyday and strange objects on the theme "gorilla". Currently, our collection consists of children's books, mugs, soaps, brushes, erasors etc. We would be grateful for any further hints or suggestions.
In April, Tom Butynski and Esteban Sarmiento found traces of gorillas on their expedition to Mt. Tshiaberimu, a part of the Virunga National Park. They brought back ten T-shirts (with gorilla motives), worn by participants of this expedition. A certificate with the signatures of all members of the team goes with each T-shirt. You can bid for one of them by a donation! We will forward the ten T-shirts to those persons who have made the largest donations by March 15th, 1996, and have announced their interest in the auction. If you want to participate, please notify us accordingly at our organization address (below). Your donations are urgently needed to equip the rangers of Mt. Tshiaberimu. Currently, uniforms are being made in Zaire on behalf of the Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe. Together with gum-boots, they are to be transported to Tshiaberimu as soon as possible.
Other supplies of equipment will be sent to Africa as soon as the transportation problem has been solved. However, this is not sufficient. As already reported in the last issue of the Gorilla Journal, long-term conservation measures have to be established urgently in this area, and we hope to participate in their establishment. We therefore ask for your additional donations for this expensive undertaking. Presently a joint conservation project is planned by Zoo Atlanta, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and the Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe.
Support our efforts to protect the last gorillas on Mt. Tshiaberimu!
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