Activities under the Gorilla Agreement are implemented by Range States and other stakeholders, including a wide range of NGOs and experts.
Year of the Gorilla Campaign 2009
CMS, the UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Project (GRASP) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) joined forces to declare 2009 the Year of the Gorilla (YoG). This global campaign raised awareness and educated the public about gorillas and their threatened status, while at the same time raising funds for tangible on-the-ground conservation work.
The YoG campaign also supported the decision by the Range States to provide better protection for gorillas through the legally binding Gorilla Agreement concluded under CMS. Swift and effective implementation of this instrument was needed, and the YoG was a first major step in this direction. The YoG campaign supported the implementation of the CMS Gorilla Agreement by supporting conservation action in gorilla habitat, funding and training rangers, providing support for scientific research, and development of alternative sources of income, e.g. ecotourism, as well as education and awareness raising activities.
In 2009, Frankfurt Zoo hosted an international symposium to mark the YoG. Over 160 government officials, gorilla experts, corporate representatives and conservationists from 20 countries attended and contributed to the “Frankfurt Declaration”. The Declaration highlights major threats to both gorillas and their habitats, as well as the strategies available for their conservation. In the document, delegates appeal to national governments, the international community and industrial companies to enhance activities to reduce threats to the remaining wild gorilla populations.
Conservation Justice, LAGA and PALF
CMS worked in collaboration with Conservation Justice, the Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA) and the Project for the Application of Law for Fauna Republic of Congo (PALF) to support the implementation of the Gorilla Agreement. Projects which received small-scale funding from CMS have worked to assist the Governments of Gabon, Cameroon and Congo to increase capacity to enforce wildlife law, produce effective deterrents to the killing of great apes and other threatened wildlife, and monitor the illegal wildlife trade and other activities detrimental to ape survival. Work supported by CMS in Cameroon, Gabon and Congo has helped in the confiscation of large numbers of gorilla parts.
Wildlife Conservation Society Cross-River gorilla conservation
Funding to CMS received from the Norwegian Government has provided critical support to community-based conservation work by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) for the critically endangered Cross-River gorilla. The project addressed key threats to the conservation of this sub-species in Nigeria and Cameroon through support to community-based forest conservation in significant areas of the gorillas’ range, focusing on habitat currently without formal protected status. This work has greatly facilitated the improvement of the livelihoods of the local people through beekeeping training, education and gorilla monitoring activities and fostering partnerships between local communities and government.