Conservation & Research


Conservation & Research

Legal Protection for Gorillas

  1. All subspecies of gorilla are classified as Endangered and are legally protected.
  2. There are laws in eight African countries governing gorilla capture and hunting.
  3. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international treaty developed in 1973 to regulate trade in certain wildlife species, including gorillas. CITES categorizes various animals according to their current status. All subspecies of gorilla are classified as Appendix I.
    • Appendix I lists species identified as currently endangered, or in danger of extinction.
    • Appendix II lists species as threatened, or likely to become endangered.
    • Appendix III lists species needing additional protection, but not yet considered endangered or threatened.
  4. IUCN/The World Conservation Union is a nongovernmental organization founded in 1948 that supports the conservation of wild living resources. The IUCN Red List has classified all subspecies of gorillas as endangered in all parts of their range.
  5. IUCN/The World Conservation Union is a nongovernmental organization founded in 1948 that supports the conservation of wild living resources. The IUCN Red List has classified all subspecies of gorillas as endangered in all parts of their range.

Economic Incentives

  1. Economic incentives involve the provision of financial benefits for the conservation of land and animals in essence making conservation profitable for local people.
  2. Sustainable Forest Management is an economic incentive that involves using the forest and/or forest products in a responsible manner that avoids overexploitation or replants resources that were harvested.
  3. Ecotourism is an economic incentive that combines conservation with tourism that benefits local people. For example the Rwanda-based Mountain Gorilla Project works to improve park protection, initiates a conservation education program, and develops gorilla-based ecotourism. A top priority of well-managed ecotourism programs is the protection of wild habitats, innate behaviors, and cultural patterns.

Increasing Public Awareness

  1. Educational programming has sparked local and international interest for conservation issues. These programs help prepare future conservation leaders for challenging environmental concerns as well as providing information regarding zoonoses (inter-species disease transmission) which may be acquired from bushmeat.
  2. As an alternative mining location for coltan, new research has documented the existence of coltan reservoirs within extinct volcanoes of the North Motzfeldt region of Greenland. Funding has been established to research the viability of mining within these areas. Additionally companies that use coltan are beginning to require that their coltan is mined from sustainable sources and cell phone recycling programs have increased due to elevated public awareness.

Nongovernmental Organizations

  1. Nongovernmental organizations serve as intermediaries between international and national economic resources, policymakers, researchers and the animals themselves. These organizations provide opportunity for field researchers to interact with policymakers to share information regarding conservation management and field research.
  2. The Great Ape Survival Project (GRASP) is a collaborative partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) divisions. The project works to protect gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans by working with local communities to reduce poverty, increase conservation awareness programs and population monitoring.

Zoological Parks

  1. In a cooperative effort with other AZA (American Zoo and Aquarium Association) institutions, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay closely manages gorilla populations through a program called the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which works to improve the genetic diversity of managed animal populations.
  2. American Zoo and Aquarium Association

  3. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund's mission is to work with purpose and passion on behalf of wildlife and habitats worldwide, encouraging sustainable solutions through support of species research, animal rescue and rehabilitation and conservation education. In 2004-2005, the Conservation Fund supported the following gorilla preservation projects through conservation education programs and habitat protection.
    • Project: Mbeli Bai Study
      Partner: Wildlife Conservation Society
      Location: Congo, Africa
      This is a long-term study of western lowland gorillas using direct observations. This study provides in-depth information on gorilla social structure, behavior, and current threats to their population. Researchers' presence is a deterrent for poachers. The project includes Club Ebobo which provides conservation education to children in surrounding areas. A satellite phone was implemented for gorilla researchers to communicate with Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's Adventure Camp participants.
    • Club Ebobo participants.

      Club Ebobo participants studying about gorillas.

    • Project: Youth Education Program, Masai Mara, Kenya
      Partner: Friends of Conservation
      Location: Kenya, Africa
      Increase environmental stewardship for children living in the Masai Mara region. This program will teach about the value of wildlife, habitats, and sustainable natural resource management that will hopefully influence present and future environmental decisions.
    • Project: Kitomi Forest Snare Removal
      Partner: Friends of Conservation
      Location: Uganda, Africa
      The commercial bushmeat (meat derived from African forest wildlife) trade has led to many snares/traps in the wild for catching animals. This project supports Kitomi Forest Reserve's anti-poaching units and snare removal efforts to increase habitat protection for local wildlife.
    • Project: Conservation aCross Cultures (CCC)
      Location: Limbe, Cameroon
      This program supports summer workshops at the Limbe Wildlife Centre and outreach programs that focus on the commercial bushmeat trade (meat derived from African forest wildlife), wildlife diversity and conservation, and sustainable alternatives to bushmeat trade. Children from west Cameroon participate in the program as they are an integral part of future conservation endeavors. Busch Gardens Adventure Camp students were able to expand their research on bushmeat by communicating with a gorilla researcher in the field at Mbeli Bai (Central Africa). Thomas Breuer of the Wildlife Conservation Society spoke with Adventure Campers via satellite phone. Each camp session engaged in a 30-40 minute phone call with Thomas, learning about life in the field, wild gorilla populations, and the role conservation organizations play in combating the bushmeat crisis in the Congo. The Conservation aCross Cultures program concluded the summer 2005 program with both Cameroonian and Adventure Camp students creating educational posters to share their conservation insights with family, friends, and even Busch Gardens park guests!
    • Limbe Wildlife Centre participants interacting with Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
      Adventure Camp students via on-line instant messaging
      regarding the bushmeat crisis.

      Limbe Wildlife Centre participants with their creatively
      designed education posters on the bushmeat crisis.

    • Project: Veterinary Healthcare Workshop
      Partner: Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance (PASA)
      Location: Limbe, Cameroon
      This project helps provide veterinary care to sick, injured, or orphaned primates from hunting, commercial bushmeat trade, disease, and habitat loss. It also assists with reintroduction programs that return rehabilitated animals back to the wild.

Please visit the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund for more information on these and other projects.