04 December, 2008

The Gorilla Twins of Bwindi

Very rarely do mountain gorillas give birth to twins; that's why, we celebrate, the birth, a few days ago, of the twins at Uganda's Bwindi Forest. Bwindi is home to an estimated 340 mountain gorillas, around half the global population.

What a great way to look forward to, to next year! To save one of humankind’s closest but critically endangered relatives, UNEP, so concerned about the dangers that Gorillas face - has deemed 2009 the Year of the Gorilla. Many experts are warning that without urgent action gorillas will become extinct in the wild within the next few decades and the Year, launched at the opening of a UN wildlife conference in Rome by Prince Albert II of Monaco, aims to boost protection of the great ape and its habitat by increasing the livelihoods and incomes of local people from managing their conservation.

"It is time for us to pool all of our resources toward saving these magnificent creatures (and toward) ensuring a future for this close cousin of humankind," said, one of the greatest conservationist of all time, Jane Goodall.

"The last decade has seen a steep drop, from 17,000 to 5,000 gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, while Mountain Gorillas in the Great Lakes region number only 700, UNEP said. The main threats include hunting for bushmeat".

Very hopefully, 2009 will make the World more conscious of the dangers that Gorillas face and help protect gorillas under threat from ongoing deforestation and wars; and from extinction.

Photo: AFP

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