African nations boost gorilla protection
Paris, France – A new agreement endorsed here today by nine African countries to better protect gorillas is a major conservation achievement, said WWF and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.
This is the first time that countries where great ape species are found in the wild are to be legally obligated to act in a coordinated manner against threats to these animals.
The agreement, which will function like a mini-convention or treaty, specifies efforts that governments need to undertake and to collaborate on. These include combating poaching, supporting law enforcement and building capacity in the legal and judicial areas. The agreement will be legally binding, unlike previous declarations from the range countries, such as the GrASP Kinshasa Declaration in 2005.
“This new agreement is a powerful tool because it has the potential to reshape the way gorilla conservation is conducted" said Dr Susan Lieberman, Director of WWF’s Global Species Programme.
“It will promote collaboration and political will to secure habitat, and stop escalating threats such as poaching and Ebola outbreaks, all threats to the future of the world’s gorillas.”
Central African Republic, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Cameroon and Gabon participated in the talks, while Rwanda was unable to attend.
WWF and TRAFFIC, who are active in gorilla conservation in most of the range countries, were heavily engaged in the negotiation process and final text.
“The priority now is to make sure that the agreement’s recommendations can be turned into conservation action as soon as possible,” said Roland Melisch, TRAFFIC’s Global Programme Coordinator.
“Only then will we see an upturn in the fortunes of these magnificent animals.”
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