Archive for Congo

Organization of the Day: Gorilla Doctors

Posted in Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2010 by Dori G

Today only 720 Mountain Gorillas populate the earth, and in only two parks (Uganda/Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo). Dr. Dian Fossey founded what was originally called the Volcano Veterinarian Center in 1986. After studying Gorilla’s behavior and interaction with their environment she discovered that their population was declining rapidly, likely due to their interactions with humans. She decided to start a veterinarian project dedicated to the Gorillas. Sadly, she did not live to see the success, but today the project is known as Gorilla Doctors.

After years of research, scientists found that the secret to saving the lives of these animals existed within medical care. The largest threat facing these animals is disease, contracted through interaction with humans, other animals, and factors of their environment. Their research has found that people, mountain gorillas, and cattle share genetically identical intestinal pathogens, making them susceptible to diseases.

The Gorilla Doctors are a team of highly talented vets who intervene when needed and help nurse the Gorillas back to health. Seeing as the health of the Gorillas depends on the health of the people interacting with them, Gorilla Doctors also provide health care for their employees. Within the last ten years they have been able to increase the population of the Mountain Gorillas by 17%, and only hope to increase that number. These veterinarians are fully dedicated to their research, which has been groundbreaking, and to the survival of these precious gentle giants.

To learn more, please click here…..

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Organization of the Day: Bonobo Conservation Initiative

Posted in Organization of The Day, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2010 by Dori G

Due to the hostile nature of Congo’s war-ravaged lands, the number of remaining Bonobos apes is one that is hard to pinpoint, and as a result there is no true approximation of their population size today. We are aware of one major fact, however, these creatures are endangered and their numbers are only decreasing. Multiple threats face the Bonobos. Their main habitat exists within only one country: the Democratic Republic of Congo. The wars that have faced this area have directly affected the Bonobos, as well as their use for bushmeat and the destruction of their natural habitat.

The range of the Bonobos is embodied in the last stronghold of the Congo rainforest, a prime target for loggers. Although the government has tried to stop the decimation of the rainforest, illegal activities persist. Bonobos are one of the most fascinating species that exist because of their uncanny similarities to that of man, sharing 98% of the same genetic make-up. The Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI) is a small, innovative non-profit organization that is the only one dedicated solely to the conservation of Bonobos. Their observation and respect of the animals has transferred over into their efforts in saving these animals.

Photo credit: Ben Buckley

Bonobos are known to be a peaceful species and BCI adopts this quality into their practices through educating the public, establishing protective areas, and capacity building for Congolese partners and indigenous communities. They have also launched a project known as the Bonobo Peace Forest Project (the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve), which has gained legal recognition as a nature reserve. The reserve encompasses 1,847 square miles and is home to over 1,000 Bonobos, creating a safe habitat for this species to flourish in. Highly focused on the Bonobos, BCI has found a deep-rooted respect for these creatures and hopes to increase global awareness, believing that everyone can help make a difference.

Photo credit: Dan Caspersz

To learn more, please visit their website.

Organization of The Day: Gorilla Doctors

Posted in Africa: Primates, Organization of The Day, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2010 by Dori G

Today only 720 Mountain Gorillas populate the earth, and in only two parks (Uganda/Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo). Dr. Dian Fossey founded what was originally called the Volcano Veterinarian Center in 1986. After studying Gorilla’s behavior and interaction with their environment she discovered that their population was declining rapidly, likely due to their interactions with humans. She decided to start a Veterinarian project dedicated to the Gorillas. Sadly she did not live to see the success, but today the project is known as Gorilla Doctors.

After years of research, scientists found that the secret to saving the lives of these animals existed within medical care. The largest threat facing these animals is disease, contracted through interaction with humans, other animals, and factors of their environment. Their research has found that people, mountain gorillas, and cattle share genetically identical intestinal pathogens, making them susceptible to diseases.

The Gorilla Doctors are a team of highly talented vets who intervene when needed and help nurse the Gorillas back to health. Seeing as the health of the Gorillas depends on the health of the people interacting with them, Gorilla Doctors also provide health care for their employees. Within the last ten years they have been able to increase the population of the Mountain Gorillas by 17%, and only hope to increase that number. These veterinarians are fully dedicated to their research, which has been groundbreaking, and to the survival of these precious gentle giants.

To learn more, please click here…..

UN Helicopters Successfully Rescue Baby Gorillas

Posted in Africa: Primates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2010 by kendickjerkins

UN peacekeepers from the Congo have successfully airlifted endangered baby gorillas out of the conflict zone where they were rescued.  The four babies were flown from the conflict zone in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Kasugho Sanctuary in the North Kaivu province on Tuesday.  Six other gorillas are to be flown into the sanctuary on June 10 in an attempt to help the the other four form a sustainable, viable population back in their natural habitat.  The illegal trade in bush meat and live baby gorillas has been a boon to local militant groups, and this rescue mission is hoped to be a first step in both saving the gorillas and helping to stop the war.

Human conflict in Congo is constantly claiming casualties

A gorilla mother and her baby.

Baby gorilla rescued from Illegal trafficker

To read the full article about the air lift click here

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Environmental Crime and Conflict in the Congo Basin: The Last Stand of the Gorilla – A report by UNEP & Interpol

Posted in Africa: Primates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Gorillas, the largest of the great apes, are under renewed threat across the Congo Basin from Nigeria to the Albertine Rift: poaching for bushmeat, loss of habitat due to agricultural expansion, degradation of habitat from logging, mining and charcoal production are amongst these threats, in addition to natural epidemics such as ebola and the new risk of diseases passed from humans to gorillas.

Alarmingly, parts of the region are experiencing intensified exploitation and logging of its forest, in some cases even within protected areas. In the DRC, many of these activities are controlled by militias illegally extracting natural resources such as gold, tin and coltan as well as producing charcoal for local communities, urban areas, camps for people displaced by fighting and sometimes even to communities across the border.

A victim of the human conflict between militia & conservation groups

These militias are located, motivated, armed and financed directly by this illegal extraction of minerals, timber and charcoal. A network of intermediaries including multinational companies or their subsidiaries, neighboring countries and corrupt officials, are involved in the transportation and procurement of resources which stem from areas controlled by militia, or for which no legal exploitation permission exists.

Rangers destroying a charcoal kiln in an effort to fight deforestation and illegal exploitation of resources by militia

To read the full report from The United Nations Environment Programme, click here

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The new secret weapon in the anti-poaching war: DNA Barcoding

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Researchers at the American Museum of Natural History in New York have discovered what they term the “Barcode of Life” which is a genetic sequence that is specific to each individual species. By analyzing this “Barcode of Life,” they can determine if the skin is from an endangered animal or one that’s allowed to be hunted.

George Amato, an evolutionary biologist who helps oversee the DNA library, inspects a crocodile skin briefcase. Even after the skin has been processed, the bumps contain bits of bone the lab uses to extract DNA.

Julie Feinstein, collection manager of frozen tissue lab at AMNH, removes a rack of samples from one of the liquid nitrogen-cooled storage vats. She’s wearing special gloves so that, as she puts it, she doesn’t stay attached to the vat.

This system enables customs agents, and other regulatory agencies, to send samples of seized products to the lab in order to have them tested to see whether the produces has a from an endangered species or not.    The Museum has over 70,000 samples and growing,  there is a “constant influx” of samples so the number constantly grow.

Leather products found at a crafts market in Brazzaville, Congo. They may have originated from Mali, as similar products were found in the shop of Malian leather workers who illegally ship in Nile crocodile and other skins to Congo.

Click here to read more  about “The Barcode Of Life” for the full article

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The Last Stand of the Gorilla: Guerrilla Warfare has beocome a MAJOR threat for Mountain Gorilla Survival

Posted in Africa: Primates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2010 by kendickjerkins

Scientists warn that all gorillas could be killed in the Congo River Basin by the mid 2020s if action is not taken.  Militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have greatly exacerbated the poaching problem by smuggling bush meat through the same channels as timber, diamonds, and gold.  The UN Environmental Program (UNEP) warms that the current rate of habitat destruction and poaching on gorillas is well above a sustainable level.

An orphaned gorilla from near the Loanga National Park

Malnourished Orphaned baby gorilla for sale in local market

Current distribution of gorillas in Africa

A gorilla being butchered for sale at a bush meat market

Click here to read the full article

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