Rwanda’s mountain gorillas, new film


Wildlife Extra writes about this video:

Rwanda’s mountain gorillas star in new documentary – watch it here

April 2014: Mountain gorillas at the Volcanoes National Park are the subject of a new 15 minute documentary entitled Hope which you can watch [above here]. The short film revisits the mountain gorillas at the park, nearly 47 years after Dian Fossey began her work in the region, and explores the extreme, intensive and sometimes dangerous methods employed to protect the great apes.

The film, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, takes a historical look back to 1967 when Dian Fossey began her work. Fewer than 300 mountain gorillas remained at the time, their population ravaged by poachers, who for years targeted the gorillas to make money, selling infant gorillas to zoos or the hands and heads of the adults as trophies to wealthy tourists.

Dian Fossey was murdered in 1985, her original research centre destroyed, rebuilt and then destroyed again during the civil war in Rwanda in the 1990s. However, despite adversity, the work never stopped. Today the Karisoke Research Center has a new home where 120 people continue Dian’s work, as the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.

The charity employs teams of trackers who follow the gorillas every day. They monitor each gorilla, ensuring its safety and health, risking their lives in a region that is still plagued by violence.

“The number of mountain gorillas had become so depleted in Rwanda by the late 1960s that extreme measures were needed to protect the remaining population and allow it to increase,” said David Attenborough. “The work at the Volcanoes National Park by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International absolutely must continue, if we are to protect this species of great ape, which is still critically endangered. The film Hope will once again bring to light the fragile existence of the mountain gorillas and the work that goes into protecting them. By watching and sharing this very important film you will be helping the people saving the gorillas.”

Ugandan mountain gorilla photos:here.

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Good African gorilla news


This is a western lowland gorilla video from the Central African Republic.

From Wildlife Extra:

Gorillas reintroduced into Congo & Gabon are thriving

October 2013. The Aspinall Foundation’s reintroduction of western lowland gorillas to areas of Africa where they have been hunted to extinction appears to be working, according to a new scientific study.

Critically Endangered

Western lowland gorillas are classified by the World Conservation Union as Critically Endangered, based on a projected 80% decline in the wild over just three generations, ranking them alongside the most threatened species on the planet. Reintroduction of gorillas to protected areas from where they have previously been exterminated is still considered controversial, but a pioneering, long-term programme to do just that is starting to show it may be possible after all.

Congo & Gabon

Two gorilla populations are currently in the process of being re-established in the neighbouring African republics of Congo and Gabon, by the UK-based charity The Aspinall Foundation in collaboration with the respective governments.

Fifty-one gorillas were released between 1996 and 2006, 25 in the Lesio-Louna Reserve in Congo, and 26 in the Batéké Plateau National Park in Gabon. Most of the released gorillas are rehabilitated orphans of the illegal bush-meat trade, taken as young babies from their slaughtered mothers by opportunistic hunters. The majority of orphaned gorillas die of depression and mistreatment, but a few survive long-enough to be confiscated and handed over to long-term rehabilitation programmes.

In the Gabon project, in addition to the wild-born orphans the released gorillas also include seven captive-borns, sent back to Africa from The Aspinall Foundation’s successful captive-breeding population at Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks in the UK.

Good levels of survival, births and dispersal

Dedicated field staff have been monitoring the released gorillas for over ten years at both reintroduction sites. A previous analysis, published in 2012 in the International Journal of Primatology, illustrated that the reintroduction programme had been successful in terms of post-release survival, birth rates and dispersal, all of which were comparable with wild populations. The new study goes a step further, using this information to develop a computer simulation model of the growth of the two reintroduced gorilla populations over a 200-year period.

Lead author of the new study, The Aspinall Foundation’s Conservation and Reintroduction Co-ordinator Tony King, explained, “We have seen with our own eyes the remarkable ways in which the released gorillas adapt to their new homes, and have celebrated numerous successful births to orphaned gorillas who never had the chance of a normal upbringing in a gorilla family – but this is the first time that we have put all this together to help predict the future success of the reintroductions.”

3 more gorillas released

The results of the study suggest that the reintroduced gorilla populations have a good chance of sustaining themselves for 200 years and more, but illustrated that reinforcement of the populations by further releases could significantly improve probabilities of population persistence and retention of genetic diversity. Damian Aspinall, chairman of The Aspinall Foundation, said, “This is incredibly useful information. Only last week three more gorillas were released in Gabon, and we are currently preparing an entire family group for imminent release.”

Slow reproduction

Developing the model was a challenge. “Gorillas can live for over forty years, usually don’t reproduce until they are at least 10 years old, and females produce one surviving off-spring only every five years or so,” added co-author Christelle Chamberlan, who has worked with both reintroduced lowland gorilla populations and the wild mountain gorillas of Rwanda. “Even after a decade of monitoring our released gorillas, there are still many aspects of their life-history patterns that we don’t know. We tested our model to see which factors were most significant in changing the predicted success of the reintroduction. Relatively small changes to annual birth rates or to female survival rates made big changes to the predicted long-term growth of the populations. Good numbers of healthy, reproducing female gorillas are therefore critical to population persistence.”

“It is definitely an ambitious project,” King concluded. “Results so far have exceeded most expectations. The gorillas are still living on a knife-edge though. Small reintroduced populations are always susceptible to crashes due to random changes in any number of factors. We plan to release more gorillas at both sites, which will increase the chances that the populations will survive. In reality we are still only just beginning.”

The study was published in the international conservation journal Oryx.

Canada goose drives away gorilla, video


Jon Campbell, Christian Post Contributor in the USA, writes about this video:

Goose Attacks Gorilla: Video Stuns Viewers as Gorilla Runs From Canadian Goose

April 12, 2013|7:19 pm

A goose has attacked a gorilla at the Sedgewick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas this week, in an extraordinary encounter that left eye witnesses amazed. The amazing attack was caught on camera and the video has since gone viral on the Internet.

Barney is the gorilla at Sedgewick County Zoo, and was the victim of the rare attack this week. He is a 20-year-old western lowland gorilla, and weighs about 450 pounds and stands at a height of about 6 feet.

The gorilla is a native of Africa and has been known to stand up fiercely to his gorilla brothers in his troop to exert his dominance and leadership over the group.

However, nothing he has encountered before could have prepared him for the attack he experienced this week, and he could not have expected the comparatively tiny goose to have gone after him.

But the unnamed Canadian goose, who was not even one of the zoo’s animals, did [not] allow let size restrict it and fearlessly attacked the gorilla.

It is believed that the goose probably had flown all the way from Canada to the zoo and after his long journey was in no mood to put up with any opposition, even from a nearly-500 pound gorilla.

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In the encounter Barney the gorilla was completely minding his own business when the goose went for him. it is believed that the goose had built a nest somewhere on Barney’s zoo turf, and when Barney innocently walked by, too close to the nest the goose attacked to protect what it believed was its territory.

“Keepers reckon the plucky birds have built their nest on Barney’s turf and don’t want some great ape messing with it,” MSN Now has reported.

Barney the gorilla can be seen backing away quickly from the goose attack and clearly did not want any beef with the Canadian.

It has been reported by some outlets that zookeepers do not plan to disturb the goose nest and so Barney and pals will have to beware of that area unless they want another run in with the fearless goose.

Animal photography competition


Gorilla. MONKEY SNAPPER. (c) Lucy Ray (c) ZSL

From Wildlife Extra:

ZSL Animal Photography Prize 2013

£10,000 prizes for ZSL photo competition

February 2013. The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has launched the ZSL Animal Photography Prize 2013, a competition and prize fund set up to discover the world’s most amazing animal photography.

Returning after a great debut in 2012 which saw entries from all around the world, the competition is back with a fantastic line up of judges including ZSL Honorary Conservation Fellow and television presenter Kate Humble, environmentalist David Bellamy, and Dr Joseph Zammit-Lucia, one of the world’s leading animal portrait photographers.

£10,000 prize fund

Astounded by the calibre of the entries last year, including the captivating shot of an infant gorilla behind the camera, the judges are expecting another influx of breath-taking images in 2013. With a £10,000 prize fund and the chance for the images to go on display in a stunning exhibition at ZSL London Zoo in September, the competition aims to inspire amateur and professional photographers of all ages to get out and capture the magic of the animal kingdom.

ZSL Director General Ralph Armond said: “We were blown away by the quality of the images submitted for the ZSL Animal Photography Prize 2012 and cannot wait to see this year’s entries. Our lives revolve around animals at ZSL and we know just how captivating they are – every day we see visitors to our Zoos absolutely enthralled by them.

“But animals around the world are facing increasing threats to their existence and as an international conservation charity we know that raising their profile is vital to their survival. This competition gives us the chance to inspire people to help us protect amazing species around the world, and share our passion for wildlife.”

7 categories

The 2013 competition features seven categories in which to submit photographs, including Last Chance to See?, the Weird and Wonderful and The Birds and the Bees.

Visit www.zsl.org/photo-prize for more information or to enter images into the competition.

World’s rarest gorillas video


This video says about itself:

For the first time ever, conservationists have captured video footage of Cross River gorillas in their natural environment, thanks to a camera trap secreted in a forest in Cameroon. The elusive gorillas are some of the most elusive animals on Earth. Credit: Wildlife Conservation Society.

See also here. And here. And here.