Oil Exploration Could Threaten Gorillas
A government order permitting oil exploration in the Virunga Mountains could pose a threat to critically endangered Mountain gorillas living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to officials from the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP).
“There are approximately 780 Mountain gorillas left in the wild, and any disturbance in their ecosystem could have disastrous results,” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. “Surely oil is not worth that cost.”
The Virunga National Park was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1994, and is currently included in the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre recently issued a statement that cited “deep concerns” over the oil exploration process.
Act Now for Orangutans campaign that features Spanish soccer star Carles Puyol advocating on behalf of Asia’s endangered apes is expanding into new markets with the release of posters in Russian and Japanese.
The posters carry the familiar “I Care – Do You?” challenge from Puyol, along with information regarding the Act Now campaign and website.
Act Now for Orangutans is a joint campaign from the United Nations Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) and International Animal Rescue (IAR) that seeks to halt the orangutan’s dramatic slide towards extinction. Less than 66,000 wild orangutans are thought to remain in the forests of Borneo and Sumatra, and more than half of that population has been lost since 1950.
Act Now debuted in December in English, Spanish and Bahasa Indonesian, and has already reached an on-line audience of more than one million through its web, Facebook and Twitter posts. Media coverage has appeared in over 80 countries in 17 languages, and the Act Now website has received nearly 7,500 visitors.
The website (www.actnowfororangutans.org) offers information on orangutan conservation, re-forestation, and the impact of palm oil production on orang-utan habitat.