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Re: Gorilla Trek

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  • bobutne
    Interesting article in the NYT about how eco-mercenaries are helping to stop poaching of bush meat in Cambodia and elsewhere.
    Message 1 of 9 , Aug 10, 2002
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      Interesting article in the NYT about how "eco-mercenaries" are
      helping to stop poaching of bush meat in Cambodia and elsewhere.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/04/magazine/04ECOMERCENARIES.html

      Key is to interdict the entire food chain including paid spies in the
      villages, monitoring restaurants and hiring locals to ferret out the
      poachers in the bush.

      In Gabon, the gorillas and other primates and the elephants have been
      fortunate in that many villages in the deep bush have been abandoned
      with the villagers moving to larger villages around the major urban
      areas. This also includes the pygmies who were the best hunters of
      the primates and elephants.

      However, taking up the human vacuum is an influx of foreign intruders
      from Cameroon and other neighboring states of Gabon. They are not in
      Gabon to find food for their families but to kill game and capture
      young primates to make a living.

      That is where ecotourism comes in starting in Lope Reserve. Gabon
      soon will designate Lope as the first National Park in Gabon. I am in
      contact with the primary outside advisor to the new park, Dr. Blom of
      ECOFAC and of Dutch decent. He has a daunting task to convince the
      Government to devote the necessary resources to keep the poachers out
      of the new park. If the park proves a success with tourists bringing
      in millions of dollar of revenue, other national parks could be
      opened throughout Gabon, where the famed conservationist, Micharl
      Fay, labeled "the last wild place on earth".

      No one knows whether 1.5 million Gabonese can co-exist for the next
      few decades or longer with 40,000 gorillas and 50,000 elephants. A
      successful ecotourism program may be the best solution for all but
      the poachers.
    • bobutne
      E-mail received today from head of primate project at La Lope in Gabon: I share you concern about the impact of poaching and the bush meat trade on gorillas
      Message 2 of 9 , Aug 13, 2002
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        E-mail received today from head of primate project at La Lope in
        Gabon:

        "I share you concern about the impact of poaching and the bush meat
        trade on gorillas and other wildlife. This is indeed the biggest
        conservation challenge in this part of Africa. It seems that the
        Governments of the region are waking up to these realities and some
        encouraging policy changes have been announced. For example the
        President of Gabon has announced the creation of 12 national parks
        and an office of National Parks. The decrees are expected this week.

        Of course we need to implement these policy changes. As little
        resources are available at present, our focus will be on capacity
        building and finding the finances to make it happen.
        The biggest challenge will be to assure long term funding of anti-
        poaching operations. We hope to create trust funds to achieve this."
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