YGA Journal | Article
World Gorilla Day
A Roar for Conservation
Embark on a journey through the captivating world of gorillas this World Gorilla Day, delving into their pivotal ecological significance, the challenges they confront and the cooperative endeavors required to safeguard their existence. Discover ways you can play a role in their preservation through informed choices, supporting awareness initiatives, and volunteering with credible conservation organizations in this enlightening article!
Published September 24, 2023
Written by Reet K. Brar
In the heart of Africa’s jungle, where ancient trees stand like tall statues and the rustle of leaves is a soft lullaby, there resides a symbol of strength and grace – the gorilla. When I think about a gorilla, my mind immediately goes to the book The One and Only Ivan written by Katherine Applegate. This book highlighted the majestic appearance of Ivan while also displaying his inner monologue. He was an endangered silverback who had faced horrible treatment towards his family by poachers and further endured hardships inflicted on him by the humans who promised to take care of him. This book introduced me to this kind of subject matter for the first time, and it deeply hurt me. After this, I was driven to research ways I could contribute and provide support for these primates. Each year on September 24th, the world comes together to honour and protect these gentle giants on World Gorilla Day. Beyond the surface, this day serves as a powerful reminder of the ecological importance of gorillas and the dire need for their conservation. As we explore the depths of this celebration, we can acknowledge the global significance of this awareness day, delve into the lives of these remarkable creatures, and define ways to stand together to ensure they have a future. (World Gorilla Day)
World Gorilla Day is extremely significant due to the critical state of gorilla populations across the globe. This day provides a platform to educate and advocate for their conservation, raising awareness about the challenges they face and the urgent need to protect their habitats. The roots of World Gorilla Day can be dated back to the collaborative efforts of conservation organizations and passionate individuals. The first celebration in 2017 marked the beginning of a movement that highlighted the unfortunate circumstances of gorillas and encouraged support for their survival. The core goals of this day include enhancing understanding, inspiring action, and fostering a sense of global responsibility. (World Gorilla Day)
Gorillas’ day-to-day life is centred around their group which consists of 5-10 gorillas, led by a dominant silverback – a mature adult male. These groups can include several females, young offspring, and sub-adults, forming the core of a gorilla society. Gorillas are primarily herbivores, and their diet consists of leaves, stems, fruits, and sometimes insects. Their massive size requires them to consume a significant amount of vegetation to meet their energy needs, leading them to spend a considerable amount of their day feeding. Each day unfolds as a chapter in their intricate story, revealing behaviours and interactions that resonate with our own human experiences. Gorillas, our evolutionary cousins, intrigue humans with their social complexity and intelligence. According to the World Wildlife Fund, a similarity exists between humans and gorillas, with a remarkable 98.3% of our genetic code being shared! They exhibit diverse behaviours based on their environments across their different species, such as mountain gorillas and western lowland gorillas. Understanding their family dynamics, communication methods, and foraging techniques sheds light not only on their lives but also on the intricate web of relationships within their habitats. (Gorillas)
However, the decisions made by humans in these primates’ habitats cast a shadow over their existence and push them closer to the brink of extinction. Gorillas confront numerous threats, including habitat loss, poaching, and disease transmission from humans. As forests are demolished and human populations expand, gorillas find themselves at risk of conflict with local communities. Alongside their homes being destroyed, these primates are being killed by humans for food, bushmeat trade, traditional medicine, and other cruel poaching reasons. Additionally, gorillas are vulnerable to human diseases even though we share a genetic similarity. Illnesses that may not be as harmful to humans can be detrimental to a gorilla’s well-being and can even cause death. This includes scabies, respiratory diseases, and ebola. (Gorillas; why are gorillas going extinct?) Moreover, gorillas have low reproductive rates which makes it even more difficult for these primates to recover from these man-made damages. The population numbers have been declining rapidly, and the United Nations predicts that gorillas can become locally extinct as early as 2025. (Di Silvestro) Beyond the challenges faced by these primates, there are stories of hope. Conservation initiatives have yielded success stories, such as the increase in mountain gorilla populations in Virunga National Park. Collaborative approaches between conservationists, communities, and governments underscore the potential for positive change. Efforts made by organizations like the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, WWF, and Gorilla Doctors aim to mitigate these threats through habitat protection, anti-poaching measures, and health interventions. These organizations stress the urgency of conservation efforts and the importance of raising awareness. (Gorilla)
We hold the power to make a difference. Here’s how YOU can help:
- Support Gorilla Conservation: Contribute to reputable organizations like the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, WWF, and the Gorilla Doctors, which are dedicated to gorilla protection and research.
- Choose Sustainable Products: Make conscious choices to avoid products that contribute to deforestation and habitat destruction. You should opt for products made from recycled materials and palm oil. Additionally, you should purchase sustainable coffee and tea.
- Spread the Word: Utilize social media and other platforms to raise awareness about gorilla conservation efforts.
- Participate and Volunteer: Engage in local conservation projects or volunteer opportunities that support gorilla habitats. Sign petitions and help raise awareness!
World Gorilla Day serves as a global reminder that our actions resonate beyond our own lives, and can influence the lives of entire species. Through collective understanding and advocating for thoughtful action, we can stand as guardians of these gentle gorillas and ensure they are granted a good quality of life. On September 24th and beyond, let us rise as protectors of the ancient and everlasting gorillas.
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