The United Nations Ambassador for the year of the Gorilla, has called for proper protection of mountain Gorillas saying they play a vital role in the protection of the environment.
Addressing the press yesterday at the British embassy, Ian Redmond, the Ambassador for the UN Year of the Gorilla said, “Save gorillas to save the world!
If you are protecting forests, you need to protect the animals in those forests and, hunting is as much a part of forest degradation as is cutting wood for charcoal or cutting trees for timber.”
The Year of the Gorilla campaign is spearheaded by a number of top experts renowned biologists and conservationists.
Redmond pointed out that the gorillas of Africa are doing the world a service but not many countries realize their full potential, especially their role in stabilizing climate.
“Three of them (Uganda, Rwanda and DRC), understand the tourism potential of Gorillas but I don’t think any of them has yet grasped that Gorillas in their habitat have a role to play in stabilizing the earth’s climate.”
The year of the Gorilla 2009, is the latest in a series of campaigns initiated by the Convention on Migratory Species of wild animals (CMS), a convention under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to which Rwanda is a signatory.
“What we are hoping to show is that gorillas are keystone species in their habitat. If you save the gorillas, you have to save their habitat.”
“Animals eat the fruit, eat the seeds, and the seeds pass through their system.
And gorillas are second only to elephants in the number of seeds they disperse each day in the forests of Africa.”
Countries that are home to gorillas have in the past pledged to monitor how laws against harming the animals are being implemented on the ground.
Most countries with gorillas have laws against poaching, but environment groups say enforcement is often weak.
Several countries like Germany have promised to contribute funds; some of it will be used to train the judiciary, with the intention of improving implementation of existing laws.
The three countries of Rwanda, Uganda and DRC entered a 10 year joint strategic conservation plan committed to ensure that the gorillas survive extinction mainly caused by interference from human activity.