save the forest, protect the great apes
Gorillas and chimps are among our closest living relatives yet they risk being lost forever due to the actions of humans. Like us, chimps are highly social animals, care for their offspring for years and can live to be over 50. In fact, chimpanzees are our closest cousins; we share about 98 percent of our genes. In their habitat in the forests of central Africa, chimpanzees spend most of their days in the tree tops. When they do come down to earth, chimps usually travel on all fours, though they can walk on their legs like humans for as far as a mile. They use sticks to fish termites out of mounds and bunches of leaves to sop up drinking water. Gorillas live in family groups of usually 5 to 10, but sometimes two to more than 50, led by a dominant male who holds his position for years. Females become sexually mature around seven or eight years old but don’t begin to breed until a couple of years later. Males mature at an even greater age. Once a female begins to breed, she’ll likely give birth to only one baby every four to six years, and only three or four over her entire lifetime. This low rate of reproduction makes it difficult for gorillas to recover from population declines. Both gorilla species have been decreasing in numbers for decades, and a 2010 United Nations report suggests that they may disappear from large parts of the Congo Basin by the mid-2020s. Conservation efforts by organizations and governments are making a difference for gorillas. New protected areas are being designated for some gorilla populations, and the population of mountain gorillas has seen an increase in recent years.
western lowland gorillas left
eastern lowland gorillas left
Our very own dr Coffee on a conservation, and coffee sourcing trip to Uganda. On the left are the incredible men who work to conserve the ape populations, on the right – the beautiful chimp family.