This is a really positive story from Africa. One of our closest relations, the mountain gorillas have been under serious threat due to habitat loss, war and the market for so called bush meat.
I was luck enough to get to see these magnificent animals in Uganda in 2008 in the Bwindi impenetrable forest in south western Uganda. Its an extremely well run operation. For a $500 permit fee, you get a guide, armed protection and about 45 minutes contact time with the gorillas.
On our trip, it took about 5 hours on foot to get to where the gorillas were feeding that day and this is at extreme elevations and is very tough. But… worth all the effort. We met a group of about 25 individuals from a big silverback to very small juveniles.
Some shots from the trip
This is yet another series of images from the Guardian and a good follow-up to the St. Petersburg Tiger summit. The core of the problem is how you deal with local poverty and official corruption and create a value for the tiger alive against the Tiger dead!
Two more shots from my trip to Khana.
The image on the right is a typical scene in the National parks. The park rangers even without mobiles or radios always know where the tigers are going to be! In the case of Khana, the owners of the jeeps are all locals aided with a grant to buy the jeeps. In addition you are not allowed into the park unless you use the local drivers and a ranger, also a local.
It gives these guys and their families a real incentive to keep the tigers alive!
This is largely a press release by the WWF on the lengthly Tiger summit that has just finished. This is probably the poor tigers last hope for survival. The good news is that all 13 so called “Tiger Countries” participated and a number of well known celebs have jumped on the bandwagon to aid publicity.
The reality is that unless people living in the tiger ranges make more money by saving the tiger than by poaching, the survival of this magnificent cat will remain in doubt.
A few years ago, I had the privilege to visit India and spend a week in Khana, one of the better national parks. What struck me in particular about Khana was how the park involved local people in all aspects and ensured that the maximum number were making a living from Tiger tourism.
This is a shot from that trip – this was taken from the back of an elephant.
Oh… – the press release is available here: