The last great apes

The Last Great Apes

I am not your servant or your slave. I am not your research tool or your organ farm. My flesh is not your dinner or my bones are your aphrodisiac. My skin is not your luggage or your shoes. I am not your target or your prey and it is not my job to entertain you.

I am like you, a unique impression of the soul. I can think and we have our own language which you can not understand. We become extinct because of you, our narrowest relative. Our living space get destroyed and we get killed. We suffer.

Why?

Africa is the home of our closest relations. Unfortunately the days of the big apes are counted. The human species is in war with nature and don’t let any chances for the big great apes to survive.

The western equatorial African rainforest is the home to two subspecies of great ape, the central chimpanzee and the western lowland gorilla. There are two species of gorillas found in the Congo Basin, the eastern gorilla divided into the eastern lowland gorilla and the mountain gorilla. The western gorillas are divided into the western lowland gorillas and the cross river gorillas. The cross river gorillas live in the mountainous regions of Cameroon and Nigeria. This is a forested and generally inaccesible area. There are about 10 subpopulations of cross river gorillas in this area, with an optimistic population estimate of not more than 300, although they may be as few as 150 gorillas left. The cross river gorillas have declined critically and is the most endangered ape in the world.

The main reason for the extinction of the big apes are the humans. The causual elements leading to the decline of this species are clearly man orientated. Hunting, farming, logging, habitat loss and fragmentation are identified as the main sources of the extinction of these animals. The use of snares is a threat for the apes as they inadvertently fall into these wires and come out, if they do, with serious injuries which often cause their dead.

Another big danger already to the small Gorilla population is the Ebola Virus.

Female Gorillas are able to reproduce their young ones only after every 4 years.

There are quite many national- and international projects that work to conserve great apes in this region and around the world but the continuing, rapid decline of great apes, and especially in Nigeria and Cameroon indicates that past efforts are not sufficient enough and much more is needed. There are many more finances necessary to support nature, reserves and national parks in order to pay rangers and all that. It is important to establish eco tourism and to build further orphanages for wild animals particular for the great apes.

WPE is actively working to protect rainforest and wildlife through the WPE Projects particular the environmental education in cameroonian schools.

The most endangered primate is the cross river gorilla, estimated at 150 – 300 animals.

The number of mountain gorillas is estimated at about 700 animals. Not much better is the situation for the lowland gorillas, the chimpanzees, bonobos and all other primates. Our next relatives are threatened with extinction.

The biggest enemy of great apes is the human. In recent years, the Gorilla populations, unfortunately also badly affected by the Ebola virus.