Conservation & Research

Legal Protection for Gorillas

There are laws in 8 African countries governing gorilla capture and hunting.

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.

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.

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

Economic incentives involve the provision of financial benefits for the conservation of land and animals in essence making conservation profitable for local people.

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.

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

The U.S. government imposed wildlife trade sanctions on Taiwan in 1994 for illegal trade of tiger and rhinoceros products. This was the first time the U.S. government imposed a trade sanction to impede illegal trade in endangered wildlife.

Ecotourism is an economic incentive that combines conservation with tourism that benefits local people. It may promote both education and conservation opportunities as well as revenue for conservation projects and jobs for local citizens.

Nongovernmental Organizations

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.

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

In a cooperative effort with other AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) 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.

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.

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!

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.

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