IGCP coalition members react to good news in mountain gorilla conservation

Blog | 9/12/10

The International Gorilla Conservation Programme is a unique coalition of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).  IGCP also works in solidarity with the park authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. In light of the results that the mountain gorilla population in the Virunga Massif has grown from 380 individuals in 2003 to 480 individuals in 2010, here is how our coalition has responded. We invite you to comment to this point to add your response as well!

“AWF is proud to be part of this ongoing transboundary success story,” said AWF CEO Patrick Bergin. “Many of our members and partners and have supported this effort; we are committed to staying the course until this population of endangered great apes is secure.”

“In the face of daunting threats, this remarkable increase in the numbers of mountain gorillas is a testament to the effective and coordinated conservation efforts made by IGCP and its partners,” reacted Bruce Liggitt, FFI Africa Programme Manager.

‘’This is vivid testimony to the commitment of the Rwanda, Uganda and DRC governments, in addition to their supporting partners including IGCP, to ensuring the sustained protection of this charismatic species,” said David Greer, African Great Ape Coordinator at WWF.  “The survey results provide us with an excellent demonstration of how strong law enforcement efforts put in place to safeguard flagship species can advance species conservation, benefit local communities, and provide important revenue to governments.”

“The mountain gorilla is the only one of the nine subspecies of African great apes experiencing a population increase.  While we celebrate this collective achievement, we must also increase efforts to safeguard the remaining eight subspecies of great apes,” said Greer.

Commenting about the results, the enthusiastic Head of Tourism and Conservation at Rwanda Development Board, Rica Rwigamba said, “the increase in mountain gorilla numbers is a testament that we in the Virunga massif are all reaping from the conservation efforts sowed on a daily basis. We acknowledge the selfless efforts by the rangers that has ensured safety of the wildlife and their habitat. We pledge our renewed commitment to ensure our dream of scrapping the mountain gorillas off the endangered species list will be realized.”

“The fruits of collaboration that have been nurtured through the transboundary coordination of Uganda Wildlife Authority efforts and resources with those of the Rwanda Development Board and L’Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature cannot be overemphasized,” stated Mr. John Makombo, Director for Conservation at the Uganda Wildlife Authority. “Uganda continues to pledge her support towards any efforts that will see the sustainable existence of a healthy mountain gorilla population for the benefit of the local communities, Ugandans and the global community as we conserve for generations.”

Emmanuel de Merode, park warden of Virunga National Park in DRC puts the plight of mountain gorillas in perspective. “We’re dealing with an unusual situation, where we have very low numbers in a single location. It’s like having all your eggs in one basket, and that makes them very vulnerable beyond the success we’ve been having these last few years,” he said.

The International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) currently consists of Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International and the World Wide Fund for Nature. We recognise that the earth's survival is dependent on humanity's ability to maintain a healthy and balanced environment that includes all species of wildlife.