Working to protect Gorillas
Since 2015, Zoo de Granby has been involved in the preservation of gorillas in the southern part of Cameroon, in Campo Ma’an National Park where almost 700 of these powerful primates live along with chimpanzees, elephants, buffaloes and other emblematic African animal species.
There are fewer than 200,000 Western Lowlands gorillas spread throughout six Central African countries. Although they have undeniable physical strength, these great apes are confronted by several threats that endanger their existence, such as the loss of habitat, poaching and deadly diseases.
By opening new mines, developing agroforestry and logging activities and building roads to take workers to different endeavours, animals have seen their habitats fragmented or, in fact, completely destroyed. These economic ventures have attracted a growing number of workers and have also made it easier for poachers to reach their prey. Since these changes have been implemented, access to the forest and therefore to gorillas has made it easy to commit these illegal acts. Gorillas are hunted for their meat and for the sale of their young on the black market.
Finally, humans are known vectors for all kinds of diseases which can be transmitted, because of our genetic proximity, to primates such as gorillas or chimpanzees. A simple human cold can have much more dramatic consequences for primates!
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is responsible for the ecological monitoring of gorillas residing in the Campo Ma’an Park in Cameroon. Several important conservation agencies as well as Central African governments have prioritized this 240,000-hectare protected territory (5 times the size of the Parc de la Mauricie) for the specific protection of gorillas. Zoo de Granby supports their activities financially, supplies equipment for animal trackers and field scientists as well as offering its own practical infield expertise. In fact, during the upcoming months, a zoo staff member will be working alongside them, bringing technical support for the ecological monitoring of these magnificent, yet highly endangered, primates.