World Gorilla Day
Updated: Sep 15
On the 24th September 2020 the world celebrates World Gorilla Day with a view to bringing awareness to gorilla conservation.
There are 4 types of gorillas,
Cross River Gorillas,
Eastern Lowland Gorillas,
Western Lowland Gorillas and
Mountain Gorillas, which only exist in 3 countries Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The gorillas live within 2 specific geographical regions contained within the 3 countries, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and the Virunga Massif, a 174 square mile region encompassing Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With only just over 1,000 left Mountain Gorillas are classed as endangered according to the IUCN red list. However this is good news as they were previously categorised as critically endangered and numbers have been increasing steadily, illustrated by 6 baby gorillas being born over a 7 week period in Uganda in the summer of 2020.
Awareness is a very important tool in conservation as it shines light on specific issues and begins to get like minded people to act in a positive way. Highlighting an issue can come in many forms for example, on the 24th August 2020 another giant gorilla turned up in New York City ( King Kong being the first ) and has taken up residence in Hudson Yards on Manhattans westside. King Nyani (gorilla in swahili ) is a 8.5 ft tall, 22.9 ft long and 4,766 pounds and is the inspiration of renowned artists Gillie and Marc Schattner who have collaborated with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund on this project.
After going on a gorilla trekking safari to Uganda, home to over half of the remaining mountain gorilla population. Gillie and Marc were struck by how different mountain gorillas were in real life compared to many representations of gorillas in films. The gentle and caring emotions shown by the gorillas were completely different to the scary and aggressive depictions that have been common place. The statue serves as a thought provoking message and mental stimulator to find out more about mountain gorillas and to get involved with their conservation efforts
Closer to home in Uganda Dr Gladys Kalema - Zikusooka will be hosting a live Instagram and Facebook chat on the 24th September 2020 to discuss her gorilla conservation journey as well as answering any questions posed by the general public. This can be done by using the submitting following the Conservation Through Public Health Facebook and Instagram pages and using the #walkwithgorillas when posting your question. Dr Gladys was recently awarded the Aldo Leopold Award an incredible achievement, more so as she is the first African recipient of this award.
So wherever you are in the world put a small reminder in your diary to learn something about gorillas on the 24th September 2020 and join the continued success of gorilla conservation.