Zoos Victoria partners with the Jane Goodall Institute to support the Union of Associations for Gorilla Conservation and Community Development (UGADEC) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. UGADEC’s core goal is to create ten community reserves, which will cover approximately 1.2 million hectares and form a habitat corridor between two existing national parks (Kahuzi-Biega and Maiko National Parks). In total, 1.5 million hectares of rainforest will be protected.
The reserves will cover 90% of the current range of the Eastern Lowland Gorilla, Gorilla beringei graueri, and are critically important for the species’ survival. The area also supports a vast range of other wildlife, including Chimpanzees and Okapi.
The eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a global biodiversity hotspot, home to the entire Eastern Lowland Gorilla population and 25% of the Mountain Gorilla, G. beringei beringei, population. However, high human population densities and extreme poverty due to civil war are putting pressure on local communities and the environment. Eastern Lowland Gorillas are now Endangered.
Mining, illegal forestry, charcoal production and increased demand for wildlife as bushmeat, threaten the ongoing survival of the great apes.
Zoos Victoria is funding an Education Coordinator role for the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to implement an environmental education program in one hundred schools across ten eastern DRC communities.
The coordinator will engage communities and help them to understand local wildlife protection laws and environmental issues, and facilitate behaviour change to achieve measurable outcomes for wildlife.
With strong leadership from UGADEC and JGI, Zoos Victoria’s financial support has facilitated:
Jane Goodall Institute
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International