Tag Archives: Jane Goodall

News from the International Population, Health and Environment Conference 2013

Hi, This is Sam,

I recently went to Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, where the International Population, Health and Environment Conference (PHE) 2013 was being held. I attended this annual convention along with many civil society organizations, government officials, researchers and donors from across the world. We gathered to share, learn, network and identify the needs and priorities of PHE advocates and organizers.

The conference was spread over two days and offered many interesting seminars such as “Integrating PHE in rural agricultural interventions among small holder farmers”, or “Sustaining and scaling up PHE interventions in and around national parks in Uganda”. We also discussed how we can raise the profile of our PHE efforts and results as this could increase new donor interest in our projects.

Overall, it was a pretty amazing and very informative event, and it was incredible to see PHE members from all over the world working together towards the same goal of improving PHE’s global projects. My positive experience makes me look forward to next year’s conference – but don’t worry until then I will of course keep you posted with news about other projects and events that are happening down here in Africa!

PHE_group

Ian Redmond – San Francisco Zoo, WCN and a paddle in the Pacific

Sharp-eyed followers of the YoG Blog  will have noticed that there are a few gaps in the record of my State of the Gorilla Safari across Africa… My apologies for keeping you in suspense but I promise they will be filled a.s.a.p.  In the meantime, after a week packed with UK activities – a succesful YoG lecture at Bristol Zoo, writing some articles and email interviews, thanking all who  sponsored my Great Gorilla Run knuckle-walk, a Born Free Conservation Team meeting and some extreme lawn-mowing (our garden is on a steep hill!) – I got up at 3:00am on Friday to get to Heathrow for a 6.35 Lufthansa flight to SF via Frankfurt (an odd route I know, but Lufthansa kindly donated the flights that made the YoG US lecture tour possible).

San Francisco is on the coast, with only a couple of sand dunes to break the wind that sweeps in from the Pacific. Looking West, there’s nothing but waves all the way to Japan!  The SF zoo staff made me feel very welcome and showed me round the gorilla facility,  where they had recently successfully hand-reared a baby – Hasani, rejected by his inexperienced mother  –  for his first few months, then adopted him out to an un-related female with better mothering skills than his own mother, who now seems quite happy with the arrangement and occasionally plays with him. Sitting by the prison-like steel cages of their indoor quarters, I admitted how hard I find it seeing gorillas (and other animals) in captivity.  We discussed whether wild gorillas ever rejected their young — it has never been observed, but not only do wild infants benefit from their own mother’s undivided attention for the first four years or so of their childhood, they then get to watch their mother and other females with their babies and to practice their parenting skills by borrowing babies once they are old enough to venture out of their mother’s protective embrace.

San Francisco Zoo

It was amazing to see how Hasani’s adopted mother cared for him, and kept him clear of the silverback’s displays – he was stressed by my presence so we adjourned to the public viewing area outside, but he knew we were there and strutted across the grass and rocks blowing raspberries, which was his habit when tense I gathered.  The question of the ethics of keeping such intelligent animals in captivity will be debated passionately for many years to come, but the one thing that both sides of this debate recognise is that we don’t have the luxury of that many years to halt the decline in most wild gorilla populations. 

Silverback Western Lowland Gorilla at San Francisco Zoo - Photo Ian Redmond

This is why the YoG focuses on conservation of gorillas in their natural habitat, and why more than 100 zoos around the world are through WAZA holding YoG events to raise funds for priority projects. These projects all aid in the implementation of an  Action Plan under the CMS Gorilla Agreement, a new legally binding treaty between the governments of countries with natural gorilla populations.

The SF Zoo event was a lecture and about 50 gorilla enthusiasts ignored the glorious Autumn sunshine to gather in the education centre to hear about the SoG Safari and how trees that grew from seeds dispersed in gorilla poo (the kids always love this bit!) pump water into the atmosphere and create weather systems that travel round the globe and water the crops here in California

Across town at exactly the same time, YoG Patron Jane Goodall was telling two packed halls (one video-linked to the other) of the importance of chimpanzees as well as gorillas and environmental stewardship in general, at the annual Wildlife Conservation Network.  I caught up with her later that afternoon, perched on a stool in the sunshine with a long queue of fans clutching copies of her new book  and graciously chatting to each in turn while a photographer recorded each encounter, providing an inspirational momento that will likely become a family heirloom for every recipient.  Jane asked about last Saturday’s Great Gorilla Run and  I thanked her for sponsoring me and showed her my healing knuckle-blisters (she hadn’t realised I did most of the 7km on all fours).  

YoG Patron Jane Goodall and YoG ambassador Ian Redmond share a laugh. Picture by Tyler Shaw.

We compared schedules (I am always awed by Jane’s energy in the face of an itinerary that would exhaust someone half her age) and found that our paths are next likely to cross at the UN Climate Convention in Copenhagen, where we will both be speaking up for the Gardeners of the Forest and hoping that the next climate treaty that will follow the Kyoto Protocol (which runs out in 2012) will include the carbon in tropical forests.
 
The WCN also brought many other leading conservationists to SF, including Iain Douglas-Hamilton, fighting to Save the Elephants, Claudio Sillero, fighting to save the Ethiopian wolf, John Hare, fighting to save the Bactrian camel, Isobel Lackman fighting for the orangutans of Borneo, and Gladys Kalema, flying the YoG  flag and seeking support for Conservation through Public Health.  Mingling with this stellar display of heroes of the planet were hundreds of generous donors ranging from those contributing by buying crafts made by communities in conservation hotspots to major donors – all brought together by a determination to engage with the problem rather than hope that someone else will do something.

This was my first experience of WCN but I was beginning to see why so many consider it one of the most inspiring and important events in the conservation calendar.

Today I was surprised to find I had a few hours to  myself, so enjoyed a walk along the dark sands of SF beach paddling in the bracing Pacific surf (in the English sense of wading up to your knees, not in the canoe sense) and watching an assortment of avian waders racing the waves and probing for food with their long beaks.  A friend then took me to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass,  the free festival in Golden Gate Park, where the Chieftons had the crowd dancing to Celtic rhythmns, Earl Scruggs the father of Bluegrass celebrated his 85th birthday on stage in a stomping set, and Marianne Faithful sang to an adoring crowd as the sun sank behind the trees. 

Bluegrass festival, San Francisco

Tens of thousands of people politely crammed into the park – we really are the most gregarious primate on the planet – and a great time was had by all.  I wished that some of these musical icons had known about YoG and told the crowd about it, but maybe next year we can persuade the organisers to incorporate the theme of wildlife for the 2010 UN Year of Biodiversity – afterall, bluegrass stems from communities living close to nature, and what better way to celebrate Nature than a free folk festival in the park?   Watch this space…

Jane Goodall and George Schaller speak out in support of the Year of the Gorilla

World renowned conservationist George Schaller, one of the first to look at gorillas from a modern, enlightened perspective, gives a recount of his experiences and an outlook on the future and obstacles of gorilla conservation. A must-see!

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There is also a higher quality version on Youtube, click here.

YoG Patron Dr. Jane Goodall (DBE) kindly supplied us with this video message of support to be shown at the Frankfurt Gorilla Symposium in Frankfurt, Germany, which took place from 9-11 June. We thank her for lending her voice to this main YoG event, whose attendees collectively produced a 'Frankfurt Gorilla Declaration', find out more here.

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And here's another message Jane Goodall recently shot in Africa (link to Vimeo).

Drunk Gorillas and Jane Goodall

Some hilarious photographs were taken in Rwanda suggesting that gorillas getting drunk on bamboo juice in Rwanda

Gorilla in Rwanda

The photographs were takne by Andy Rouse who belives that Kwitonda got drunk and then had a massive hang over afterwards. I’m not sure if gorillas can get drunk on bamboo juice but the pictures are pretty stunning.

Jane Goodall saving gorillas

Jane Goodall has launched a mobile phone recycling program at Melbourne Zoo, with two objectives: to recycle coltan and cut demand for coltan mining, and to raise funds to pay for extra park rangers to prevent gorilla poaching.

“So far we’ve collected 6037 phones, which is enormous,” said Melbourne Zoo primate keeper Andrea Edwards, who was in the Democratic Republic of Congo last year as a volunteer at a primate orphanage.

“We’ve already sponsored a park ranger in the Maiko national park in the north-eastern part of the country to patrol the area. If we’ve already paid one ranger’s wage in a few months, and this program is going national, I can only imagine what the zoos of Australia can achieve when they get together,” she said.

“We can hire more rangers, give them better equipment and make it safer for them and better for the animals. It’s real and it’s tangible and it’s very, very exciting.”

Eastern Lowland gorilla numbers have dropped by 70 per cent in the last five years due to disease and poaching for meat, part of Africa’s bush meat trade.

Roughly $2 is raised for each phone. Zoos Victoria’s partner in the scheme, Aussie Recycling, can also refurbish and resell phones that are less than five years old.

For our friends in Australia, phones can be dropped off at Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo or Healesville Sanctuary, or a free postage label can be downloaded at zoo.org.au.

China plundering Africa resources – Jane Goodall

We at WildlifeDirect have raised concern about China’s role in the accelerating elephant killings across Africa hwic his driven by China’s insatiable demand for ivory. The Government of China claim that they have excellent controls and education programs at home, and deny that China is having the impact that so many of us fear, on elephants, trees, apes and other species in Africa.

Jane Goodall has vindicated us. This news article was just published on AFP on 10th March 2009.

Primatologist Goodall: China plundering Africa resources

WASHINGTON (AFP) — China’s thirst for natural resources including wood and minerals is leading to massive deforestation in Africa and the destruction of crucial wildlife habitat, world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall has said.

The British scientist who revolutionized research with her studies of chimpanzees beginning in 1960 warned that Beijing is pressing governments in central Africa’s Congo basin to sign over forest concessions in return for infrastructure and healthcare aid.

She said the process is helping decimate some of the largest populations of wild chimpanzees and gorillas in the world.

“These areas containing unlogged forests are very desirable to, particularly today, China, with China’s desperate effort for economic growth,” she told a Capitol Hill briefing attended by House of Representatives science and technology committee chairman Bart Gordon.

“Basically, they have almost exhausted their own supplies (of wood and minerals) so they go to Africa and offer large amounts of money or offer to build roads or make dams, in return for forest concessions or rights to minerals and oil,” Goodall, 74, said.

“I’m actually hoping (China’s growth rate) will be slowed a little bit by this economic crisis” in order to stem the deforestation, she said.

Goodall said the Chinese “have many enterprises in Congo-Brazzaville, and they’re certainly in DRC,” the Democratic Republic of Congo, two countries where deforestation and human encroachment have decimated wild primate populations despite efforts by the Jane Goodall Institute and other groups to reverse the trend.

“Their habitat is disappearing,” said Goodall, considered one of the 20th century’s leading scientists for her work with chimpanzees in what is now Gombe National Park in Tanzania.

She said it was crucial to work more closely with national and local governments in order to expand community-based conservation projects as a way to “offset offers from China.”

She also blamed the rampant bushmeat trade for helping devastate primate populations.

The trade is facilitated by foreign logging concerns building roads into once-inaccessible forested areas, and in some cases allowing hunters to ride in and out of the region on logging trucks.

Goodall’s institute is focused in part on expanding chimpanzee habitat in Gombe and working with local villages to rehabilitate denuded land and help create green corridors between Gombe and other areas with chimpanzees within the vast Congo basin.

The softspoken Goodall began her briefing in dramatic fashion, by imitating the wild call of a chimpanzee.

It could be interpreted as a cry for help — both for the primates and for the organizations working to protect them — as Goodall acknowledged that the conservation efforts could suffer a crippling blow over the next year and beyond due to the global financial crisis.

She told AFP that the downturn has made it more difficult to raise money for her work and for local governments to conduct or enforce conservation initiatives.

Jane Goodall calls for Gorilla protection

Two good things to report about gorillas today.

First, twins were born to a mountain gorilla in Uganda. It’s an extremely rare event and hopefully a good omen (if you believe in that sort of thing).

Secondly Jane Goodall is  lending her voice to gorilla conservation.

“Renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, famous for her work with chimps, called conservationists around the world to raise awareness of the problems faced by gorillas.

“It is time for us to pool all of our resources toward saving these magnificent creatures (and toward) ensuring a future for this close cousin of humankind,” she said.

The last decade has seen a steep drop, from 17,000 to 5,000 gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, while Mountain Gorillas in the Great Lakes region number only 700, UNEP said. The main threats include hunting for “bushmeat,” a prized delicacy in western Africa, as well as logging, slash-and-burn agriculture and armed conflict, notably in DR Congo.

The UNEP is holding conference on the plight of endangered migratory species to coincide with a forum in Poland of the UN climate change convention”.

Read more on the Telegraph here