WWF Adoption

Protection of the western lowland gorillas and the mountain gorillas

Since 2006 Bergmann GmbH has supported WWF

Africa fascinates especially European people. At many places though you see the dangers of overexploitation of nature. Many animal species die out silently, we even don't recognize it. In Europo we read again and again the depressing headlines about the gorillas in Congo. This species represents all dying out species.

Western lowland gorilla & mountain gorilla
There are two gorilla subspecies: the eastern gorilla (gorilla beringei) with the sub-species mountain gorilla and eastern lowland gorilla (or gorilla graueri), and the western gorilla (gorilla gorilla) with the sub-species western lowland gorilla and cross river gorilla. Western lowland gorilla have a brown-grey coat and a reddish-brown forehead, the eastern gorillas are completely black. The adult males of the western gorillas have a „silverback" until their tighs, their relatives who live more in the East have not.

Our relatives carry weight. Adult gorilla males have on average 200 kg, sometimes over 300 kg. They are twice as heavy as the females. Standing on two feet these soft giants are up to 1,70 m tall. In free wilderness they reach 35 years and even more. Gorillas eat fruits, berries, sprouts, leaves, herbs, roots and barks, passivly they eat also little animals like snails and insects. They live in a highly developed social system consisting of families that are closely connected. These groups wander through a region of 5 - 30 km2. The western gorilla lives in groups of four to five females and mostly the same number of young animals. The eastern gorillas form a family of about 15 to 20 animals. Normally one single adult male leads the families, it is the so named Silverback.

The western lowland gorilla is strongly endangered, single isolated groups are threatened with extinction. Today only about 90.000 animals are living in partly isolated groups in the forests of Nigeria, Camerun, Equatorial Guinea, Gabun, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and perpaps in the Angolan Cabinda enklave.

The last circa 700 mountain gorillas live in two separated populations. About 400 animals live in the  protected regions of the Virunga mountains, between the three countries Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The second population lives in Uganda in the impenetrable forests of Bwindi National Park.

Overexploitation of the forest and its inhabitants

The gorillas habitat, the tropical rainforest with its singolar richness of plants and animals, seems to become a victim of the destroying saws and axes. Ruthless logging has increased during the last years, the forest is shrinking constantly. Uncontrolled clear cut agriculture injures the forest even more, although the gained soils are meagre and harvest is not worth loosing the species richness. For instance, in summer 2004 settlers have cut illegally 1.500 hectares of the Virunga National Parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, within a few days. Also roads, mining and other infrastructure projects threaten the apes, wild hunting increases. The survival of the gentle gorilla families is really endangered because of loss of habitat, illegal shooting, bush meat and vivid animal agricultural trade, imported deseases and civil wars. In parts of Gabun and der Republic of Congo up to 90 % of the gorilla populations died because of the Ebola virus. The reduced populations are even more threatened, illegal hunting and loss of habitat is a big danger. If prices are not corrected, in the year 2030 will be destroyed over 90 % of the today existing habitats of the big apes in the African virgin forest. So most of the ape populations will die in the next 25 - 50 years.

Sanctuary for Western lowland gorilla and his forest

In the extreme South-West of the Central African Republic is Dzanga-Sangha sanctuary, where the WWF together with GTZ support the government in its protection efforts.

Many western lowland gorilla families find here good conditions which guarantee survival, in this  secure region they can retreat, together with other endanagered animal species, like the forest elephante, the shy Bongo-Antilope and the chimpanzee. But also the woods of the Central African Republic are threatened by increasing and intensive logging. More dangers come from gold and diamond minig, increasing bush meat trading, and expanding agricultural farming land. The WWF wants to stop this disastrous trend, to save the unique biological diversity of the rainforest.
WWF supports for instance the Dzanga-Sangha sanctuary complex in the Central African Republic (ZAR), a paradise for western lowland gorillas. It was the idea of WWF to make a sanctuary region of Dzanga-Sangha in the year 1990.

We need you to adopt an animal

If you adopt an animal you help to save the survival of the western lowland gorillas and its habitat.

WWF Germany supports the protection of the forest, they

  • develop an efficient sanctuary administration
  • educate, equip and pay the wardens
  • control wild hunting
  • support of the local population, their health system and their primary schools
  • educate ecological awareness, promote sustainable agricultural breeding methods
  • control the forest concessions
  • promote eco-tourism
  • develop a sanctuary that includes a whole territory, including the forests in Camerun, in Central African Republic and in Congo.
  • raise an ecological fond, to finance lasting concepts.

The realisation of the project

WWF Germany takes responsability for the projects in Central Africa. In the Central African Republic and in Gabun WWF Germany works closely together with WWF USA, in Camerun with WWF Netherlands.

The national WWF local offices realize the single projects, they closely cooperate with the African partner organisations, local population and they have the consent of the governments and authorities.

Help the people and protect the mountain gorilla

Mountain gorillas are the most endangered mammalians in the world. To make sure a lasting protection of the species and its habitats in its three states Rwanda, Uganda and der Democratic Republic of Congo, in 1991 the International Gorilla Conservation Programme was founded. In the IGCP WWF and two other international environment protection organisations are working closely together with the sanctuary authorities of three neighbour states. During the last ten years the transbordering engagement made the gorilla population increase 17 % to 700 mountain gorillas. But the growing number of people and the really difficult political situation endanger the survival of the mountain gorillas. Their habitats disappear more and more. They are changed to farming land or clear cutted for firewood. In Rwanda, eastern Congo and Uganda circa 91 % of the people live on agriculture and they need soils to cultivate them. More than 96 % of the people have only wood to heat and cook, they collect it in the protected regions. About 40.000 people escaped in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Refugee camps were built nearby Virunga National Park, the people  need wood to cook, to heat, and to survive. Virunga National Park is homeland for 150 extremely endangered mountain gorillas as well.
Together with Rwanda WWF helps the people living in this region to find alternatives to earn money, and to use the forest in a sustainable way. In this way we can save the habitat and the existence of the mountain gorillas and many other species.

We need you to adopt an animal

If you adopt an animal you help to save the survival of the mountain gorillas and its habitats.

WWF supports many projects which aim to protect mountain gorillas:

  • Educate ecological awareness and co-operate closely with the local population living nearby sanctuaries, find alternatives to earn money (for instance eco-tourism), stop overexploitation in the sanctuaries.
  • educate and coordinate staff for the sanctuaries
  • scientific monitoring of the gorillas, to learn more about the development of their populations, to     see     the dangers in time.
  • close co-operation with the refugee programme of the United Nations, give firewood to the     refugees, avoid invasion of Virunga National Park.
  • regulate logging in Virunga National Park, store fire wood outside of the sanctuaries. In the last 20     years the WWF helped to seed about ten milion trees around the Virunga National Park. This is so much wood that it's quasi enough to supply all people living there.

Realize the project

WWF takes part in the International Gorilla protection programme and works closely together with the environment protection organisations African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), and Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and the three sanctuary authorities of Congo: Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN), Rwanda: Office Rwandais de Tourisme et des Parcs Nationaux (ORTPN) and Uganda: Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

Contact person for adoption
Nina Dohm
Tel. 069/7 91 44-1 44
E-Mail: dohm@wwf.de

Adoption (226KB)

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