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Goodbye to gorillas

By ucrhjoe, on 1 October 2008

Following a BBC story this week:

I just don’t see how mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo can survive to see 2050. Too many people want too much around them. Warring groups of humans compete for minerals, land, and food in the national parks. This is economic exploitation of the region in ways all too familiar over the globe, feeding insatiable hungers they (and ultimately we) have for things. History shows a clear pattern: the future is bleak.

Worse, the high value we – here at home in London – put on these animals constructs a value of ‘preciousness’ around them that adds pressure. We all know how precious things become targets for thieves, rogues, exploiters, and publicity seekers. That preciousness adds to the burden already carried by gorillas. Yet another target for exploiters and publicity seekers. Yet another precious thing exploited to destruction. Same old sad story.

Still, my heart goes out to the rangers of these parks. Incredibly hard working, courageous people working on a noble cause. They are the only thing keeping the gorillas from falling off the precipice of extinction.

Someone please tell me what I can do to help those rangers in their work.


One Response to “Goodbye to gorillas”

  • 1
    Andrea M wrote on 10 October 2008:

    What about making the economic exploitation work for the gorillas rather than against them?
    For example, extending property rights over wildlife seems to have helped reduce the killings of elephants. Once the local people were given enforceable titles of property over the local animal population, they had all interests to limit their exploitation to a sustainable rate and to preserve their environment (this given to the demands coming from tourists and hunters, who want to experience a postcard-like “wild, uncontaminated landscape”).
    These so-called Community-based Natural Resources Management programmes (i.e. “privatising the elephants” to avoid the tragedy of the commons) seems to have been the key to their survival. And on this the UN (http://www.cbnrm.bw/), free-market enthusiasts (http://www.adamsmith.org/80ideas/idea/77.htm) and serious economists (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119934033/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0) agree.
    It seems to me that a solution of this kind might be extended to other species. I’m not a gorilla entrepreneur, but privatising apes and their environment might be quite as good for gorillas as it has been for their Sapiens cousins.