May 15, 2011
The next two weeks will be spent on a gorilla safari with Volcanoes Safaris in Rwanda and Uganda. Gorillas are an extremely endangered and can only be found in the East African countries of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Those three countries have had extremely volatile pasts and are still experiencing violent conflict. Properly conserving an animal in a western country is difficult enough, but conserving wildlife in a country torn by warfare is nearly impossible. However there are motions being put in place including guards, sanctuaries and national wildlife areas. I will talk much more about conservation efforts in East Africa to protect the great apes when I get back and have photos to share!
I am particularly excited about this trip because I get to experience both some time out in the jungle with wildlife and some time in the cities with the locals. Many westerners try and separate conservation issues from humanitarian issues in Africa, but they are intrinsically linked. I’ve talked about this many times before in my posts on conservation in third world countries- the only way to get conservation to truly work is to get the locals involved and passionate about it. Poaching and human encroachment are the biggest threats to the great apes so one of the most important steps to their survival is education and stability in country. If a new generation of children are raised having their most basic needs met and learning to be proud of protecting their countries natural resources the plight of the ape will soon decrease.