United Nations Environment Programme
environment for development Search 
News Centre
 
 Home News Centre
 Media Contacts
 Press Releases
 In Focus
 Speeches
 Photos
 Multimedia
 RSS / Podcasts
 Posters
 E-Cards

 Printable Version
 

Carbon finance is key to better protection of gorillas and elephants to maintain health of African rainforests says UN Ambassador

Washington/Bonn, 13 October 2009 - The United Nations Ambassador for the Year of the Gorilla, Ian Redmond, has called for the inclusion of gorillas and elephants, as important components in African rainforests, in the upcoming climate negotiations in Copenhagen.

Large mammals, such as elephants and gorillas, are keystone species in their relevant ecosystems. Gorillas act as 'gardeners' in the rainforests of the Congo Basin, and protecting them helps prevent loss of flora that are ecologically dependent on them.

Gorillas are second only to elephants in the number of seeds they disperse each day in the forests of Africa. When eating fruit and seeds, the seeds pass through their system and are in this way prepared for germination.

UN Ambassador, Ian Redmond, who has just returned from a fact-finding mission across eight African gorilla range states said: "The gorillas and elephants of Africa are doing the world a service. UNEP has just succeeded in its Seven Billion Tree campaign, but I would estimate that the apes and elephants of Africa disperse some seven billion seeds every day! The full extent of the role they play in maintaining the health of their forest habitat - a central component of the Earth's climate regulation -is still poorly understood."

Fifteen years of armed conflicts in the Great Lakes region of Africa, accompanied by illegal exploitation of minerals to finance militias, led to a sharp increase in demand for bushmeat. In addition, rapidly growing urban populations accelerated deforestation through charcoal production. Consequently, gorillas and elephants have been poached in large numbers.



Full Release

 
Photo by Ian Redmond


 

 

Further Resources

Year of the Gorilla (YoG)

Gorillas, the Gardeners of the Forest at Work: Video

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

UNEP: Biodiversity

UNEP: Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP)

 

Follow Us

Keep up to date with UNEP events on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.

Twitter Facebook You Tube



UNEP on Facebook