Gorillas, the largest of the great apes, are under renewed threat across the Congo Basin from Nigeria to the Albertine Rift: poaching for bushmeat, loss of habitat due to agricultural expansion, degradation of habitat from logging, mining and charcoal production are amongst these threats, in addition to natural epidemics such as ebola and the new risk of diseases passed from humans to gorillas.
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Graphics from the report
Alarmingly, parts of the region are experiencing intensifed exploitation and logging of its forest, in some cases even within protected areas. In the DRC, many of these activities are controlled by militias illegally extracting natural resources such as gold, tin and coltan as well as producing charcoal for local communities, urban areas, camps for people displaced by fghting and sometimes even to communities across the border. These militias are located, motivated, armed and fnanced directly by this illegal extraction of minerals, timber and charcoal. A network of intermediaries including multinational companies or their subsidiaries, neighboring countries and corrupt offcials, are involved in the transportation and procurement of resources which stem from areas controlled by militia, or for which no legal exploitation permission exists.
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Press release (Mar 24 2010)
The report ‘The Last Stand of the Gorilla – Environmental Crime and Conflict in the Congo Basin’ was financed by the Government of France and the Great Ape Survival Parterships (GRASP) established by UNEP and UNESCO.