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Gorillas Have UN Ally In Fight For Survival

Gorillas Have UN Ally In Fight For Survival

New York, Oct 14 2008 12:10PM

United Nations agencies are stepping up efforts to save gorillas in the wild, with three of the four subspecies already critically endangered as humans’ close relative faces multiple threats ranging from hunting to destruction of habitat to the effects of armed conflicts and diseases.

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS), an intergovernmental treaty concluded under the aegis of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), will declare 2009 the Year of the Gorilla at its 9th Conference of Parties in Rome in December in a effort to ensure implementation of the legally binding CMS Gorilla Agreement on conserving gorillas and their habitats in 10 African range states.

Aspects to be tackled include funding and training of rangers, support for scientific research, and development of alternative sources of income such as ecotourism, as well as education and awareness-raising, UNEP said in a news release.

Partners in the campaign will be the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP), in cooperation with UNEP and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). The Year of the Gorilla is part of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

The main threats to gorillas are hunting for food and traditional medicine, destruction of habitat through logging, mining and production of charcoal, the effects of armed conflicts and diseases like Ebola.

Three of the four gorilla subspecies, which belong to two species, are listed as 'Critically Endangered' in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

ENDS

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