Target: Taiwanese Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bao-Ji Chen
Goal: Support efforts to ensure the long-term survival of Cameroonian great apes
A coalition for the protection of Cameroonian great apes headed by Taiwan’s Bureau of Forestry, itself largely synonymous with the Department of Agriculture, recently announced that an innovative project to preserve the long-term survival of Cameroonian great apes was nearing completion. The project combines expansion of protected lands with attempts to encourage breeding between stagnant groups of apes and a focus on community education. It is vital that we, as residents of a global conservation community, support and encourage efforts like these.
The project has focused on Cross River gorillas living in the Leibalam Highlands of Cameroon, one of the most diverse regions on the planet. The efforts of the conservationists are also expected to assist populations of Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees, which are also found nearly exclusively in the area and suffer many of the same dangers as Cross River gorillas. Finally, the community education aspect of the program is also expected to benefit elephant populations in the area, which are under constant threat of poaching.
Currently, the biggest threat facing Cross River gorillas is genetic stagnation, followed by inbreeding and eventual decline of the species. This is due to individual populations of gorillas having no way to expand their gene pool. Remedying this slow decline has been the focus of the project, and will hopefully be accomplished by building an artificial pathway linking areas inhabited by groups of the gorillas, which will encourage the gorillas to range further afield in search of mates.
In addition to the “genetic corridor” portion of the project, members have also been attempting to introduce ecologically sound industries to surrounding villages, so that native peoples are not forced to rely on poaching endangered species to feed their families. New and innovative conservation methods such as these deserve international awareness and acclaim, so that others might be encouraged to use them.
Dear Minister Bao-Ji Chen,
The conservation department of Taiwan’s Bureau of Forestry recently announced that its daring project to preserve the genetic diversity of gorilla populations in the forests of Cameroon is nearing completion. The project will combine a general expansion of protected areas with a focus on community education and an innovative “genetic corridor” project to preserve the diversity of gorilla populations.
We write in support of these brilliant and innovative conservation techniques. We hope that in the future other groups will use similar techniques to encourage the long-term survival of endangered species.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Julielangford via Wikimedia Commons