Gorillas all over the world are in danger of becoming extinct. However, simply conserving their natural habitats is not enough to protect this species from dying out. As you will come to learn, gorillas face a multitude of dangers and threats, which is why your help as a volunteer is vital. If you are interested in primate conservation and in gorilla conservation in particular, you have come to the right place to learn more. We will tell you what it means to volunteer as a gorilla conservation volunteer abroad. Find out why gorillas are in danger of becoming extinct and what it is that you can do to save them.
Why is gorilla conservation so import?
While you might think that global warming, pollution, and climate change are some of the most serious threats that gorillas face, this is actually not so. Instead, unregulated or illegal poaching and hunting are a huge danger to the worldwide population. Even though most countries have laws against hunting gorillas, this is not stopping poachers all over the world from killing them. In fact, the commercial bushmeat trade in Central and West Africa is one of the biggest reasons why gorillas are in danger of becoming extinct. Especially in many urban areas in Africa, the wealthy elite considers the consumption of ape meat to be a status symbol as well as a true delicacy. Given the low reproductive rate of gorillas, comparatively low levels of poaching and hunting nevertheless pose a significant threat to the survival of gorillas across the globe. In addition, traps that were intended for antelopes or other wild animals are frequently involved in the death of wild gorillas as well.
In some countries, gorillas are popular as pets or hunting trophies. Their body parts are even used as either magical charms or for medicinal purposes in some countries. Even though this is not allowed, illegal wildlife and trade still is a huge issue. While we have just told you about some of the biggest threats to the survival of gorillas, the loss of their natural habitats plays a role, too. Given that road and agricultural building is robbing gorillas of their natural habitats, this makes it more difficult for these apes to sustain themselves. Further consider that this habitat loss makes it easier for bushmeat hunters to get their hands on gorillas since there simply are fewer places left for them to hide. While this might come as a great surprise to you, Ebola along with the spread of many other highly infectious diseases has been another reason why gorillas all over the world have died in huge numbers. Given the many threats that gorillas face, your work as a volunteer in gorilla conservation is vital for making sure that this great ape species does not die out altogether.
What kinds of gorillas will you be helping?
As a volunteer, your work might help protect various kinds of gorillas depending on where you are stationed. Volunteering in gorilla conservation will more than likely take you to Africa and your work will probably be focused on these great apes:
- Mountain Gorilla
- Western Lowland Gorilla
- Easter Lowland Gorilla
- Cross River Gorilla
Consider that Mountain gorillas were only discovered in 1902 and that the worldwide population quickly witnessed a dramatic decline in the following years. However, in recent years, primate conservation programs around the world have been able to do their part to ensure that Mountain gorilla population numbers are increasing - slowly, but surely. Even though gorilla conservation has come a long way, most of these apes are not out of the woods yet. If you are thinking about becoming a gorilla conservation volunteer abroad, you should know that gorillas worldwide are still in desperate need of your help.
What is your gorilla conservation voluntary work going to entail?
If you are serious about volunteering in gorilla conservation, you might also be interested in learning more about your job description as a volunteer. Keep in mind that you will likely be stationed in one of the following countries if you wish to work with gorillas and become an active conservation volunteer:
From tree planting to gorilla tracking to caring for injured or orphaned primates, gorilla conservation will require you to complete a diverse set of tasks. Given that there are only about 900 wild gorillas left, you will be asked to do whatever it takes to protect these apes from becoming extinct. This means that you will likely be involved in various community outreach and education programs. It will be your job as a volunteer to get the locals to participate so that any primate conservation program can be a success. From teaching schoolchildren to community classes to classes intended for tourists, education is an important part of most gorilla conservation programs worldwide. If you want to come face to face with gorillas, the biggest and most impressive wild apes of all, your gorilla conservation program will likely provide you with an opportunity to do so.
However, you should not be disappointed if you are asked to do office work as a gorilla conservation volunteer either. Since tracking the local gorilla population and monitoring its growth or decline is vital, data input might be part of your gorilla conservation volunteer job description. In case your gorilla conservation program is giving injured or orphaned primates a temporary home until they can be set free again, the following tasks will be expected of you:
- Food preparation
- Cleaning cages
- Helping with vet treatments
Since many gorilla conservation programs are struggling to obtain the funds that they need to keep going, fundraising or marketing activities might make up your job as a volunteer, too. Of course, we are going to tell you what kind of work you can expect to be doing for all of the gorilla conservation programs listed here. In turn, this will help with choosing the gorilla conservation program that seems to be the best fit for you. Be sure to take your time when making this decision. It is best to compare various programs, as this will give you an idea which gorilla conservation program you are most interested in.