Protecting Gorillas in the Congo

Project Saving Species funds support the Mbeli Bai study located in the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo. It is the longest-running field study of western lowland gorillas in the wild. Observations have provided unique insights into the gorilla’s social organization and dynamics.

Associated with the study, the Club Ebobo program educates local schoolchildren about wildlife and conservation. In 2010, Primate Team Leader, Ron Evans traveled to Congo to implement a community outreach program.

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Gorillas in the Congo

Cincinnati Enquirer journalist Meg Vogel traveled to the Congo with Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard and primate curator Ron Evans to see gorilla field conservation in action. Check out the amazing images and descriptions of what they encountered where gorillas live.

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Protecting Gorillas in the Congo

The Mbeli Bai Study is the longest-running study of wild western lowland gorillas. From a keen vantage point at the edge of a giant natural clearing, researchers are able to observe hundreds of gorillas and other species that come to Mbeli Bai to feed on aquatic vegetation that grows in the marshy area. Researchers observe and register long term demographics about gorillas, how they use their habitat and what they need to survive as the rainforest reduces around them. This is critical information when setting up protected area boundaries.  CZBG helps financially support the research at Mbeli bai and also the local Ba’aka rainforest people in their critical roles as logistical team members for the project.

At an area of the NNP region called Mondika, professional trackers slowly get specific gorilla families habituated to up close observations from researchers to better understand the interpersonal function of gorilla families, expanding critical knowledge for their conservation.   This area also allows eco-tourism to give people an inspirational opportunity with wild western lowland gorillas while creating an important revenue generation component that aides in the projects long term sustainability.   Support from CZBG helps build and repair needed infrastructure for the research camp and CZBG staff have helped with habituating new gorilla groups for research observations.

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Club Ebobo

Project Saving Species funds support the Mbeli Bai study located in the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo. It is the longest-running field study of western lowland gorillas in the wild. Observations have provided unique insights into the gorilla’s social organization and dynamics.

Associated with the study, the Club Ebobo program educates local schoolchildren about wildlife and conservation. In 2010, Primate Team Leader, Ron Evans traveled to Congo to implement a community outreach program.

Club Ebobo is the education component of the Nouabale Ndoki Project and connects local people with each off these study sites as it is important to have community support and buy in as part of an effective conservation effort. CZBG has donated supplies to the school outreach programs and has produced a multimedia, mobile presentation with interactive activities that travels to the local villages. The presentation shares stories about what the researchers are doing way out in the rainforest as well as zoo efforts around the world on behalf of gorillas and the rainforest habitats they share.

Goualougo Triangle Ape Project

The Goualougo Triangle Ape Project is one of the most remote places researchers travel to study animals on the planet. Here they have the special opportunity to study novice gorillas and chimpanzees that have had very little influence and effect from human populations. Once again critical to gaining a deeper knowledge of gorilla natural history and demographics as conservationist look to preserve habitat for their future. CZBG coordinates our annual support and goals with Dr. Dave Morgan who runs Goualougo and Mondika.

Gorilla with babyRecycle a Cell Phone, Save a Gorilla

As we continue to advance our phone technology, cell phone users rapidly replace their old models with newer ones. What do you do with your old phone?  Recycle it with Project Saving Species. By recycling your cell phone, you are reducing the demand for coltan, a mineral used in cell phones that is mined in gorilla habitat.

Gorillas in Zoos

western lowland gorillaZoo gorillas play a key role as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. Through their strong appeal with guests, we are able to share information and important conservation messages combined with action steps. Zoos do not take gorillas from the wild and have not for decades. All gorillas throughout North America are managed cooperatively through the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP). Every two years, the SSP develops a comprehensive master plan by combining data on genetics, individual gorilla personality, institutional input, and many other demographics to ensure we are able to properly managing this flagship species for many years into the future.

The Cincinnati Zoo has a long and storied history with western lowland gorillas dating as far back as the 1930s when the Zoo received its first gorilla named Susie. Highlights include the first two gorillas born at the Zoo, Sam and Samantha, just eight days apart in 1970, a record-setting year with six gorilla births in 1995, including Timu, the world’s first gorilla conceived through in vitro fertilization, and of course, the unprecedented story of baby Gladys to whom keepers played surrogate until she was transferred to the care of an experienced mother gorilla in 2013.

 

Gorilla Health Project

Strong awareness of gorilla cardiac issues began in November 2006, when a workshop of physicians, veterinarians, pathologists and animal keepers from across the country came together to discuss the cardiac health issues apparent with captive gorillas. To date, heart disease is the #1 cause of mortality in zoo gorillas. As a result of the meeting, the Gorilla Health Project was created, receiving funding and donations to help with preventative research in gorilla cardiac care. The Zoo is proud to be among the industry leaders taking part in this amazing project. In collaboration with Christ Hospital, cardiac ultrasounds (echocardiograms) have been conducted on several of the Zoo’s gorillas to add data to the growing database that the Gorilla Health Project team maintains.

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