Target: Joseph Kabila, President, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Goal: End the inhumane and illegal practice of gorilla poaching by expanding poacher to ranger program.
Survival of one of our closest ancestors, the Virunga Gorilla, is unsure at best. At last count, only 700 – 1,000 of these nearly human creatures remain. They’re lost to habitat changes, disease, and poaching. Mostly poaching. There’s big money in bushmeat, despite it being illegal under current laws. The area of the Congo these gorillas call home is also inhabited by poorer members of the population. They’re hungry, their neighbors are hungry, and they need money. Poaching is an easy solution, especially since they know the likelihood of being caught is low.
Gorillas are favored for bushmeat due to their size, but their low reproductive rates, combined with the high rate of death due to poaching and other factors, has their population to decline. Poachers after the meat favor larger gorillas, meaning parents. Countless baby gorillas are left orphaned when their parents are murdered by poachers.
It’s the job of only 500 rangers to find and prevent poaching activities in the nearly 2,000,000-acre park the gorillas call home. This is a high-risk job, made even more so by lack of staff. Unfortunately, this means that the stiff laws regarding poaching aren’t able to be enforced to the fullest extent possible.
Currently, a program exists to turn poachers into rangers. Those who participate in this program consider it life changing. They fall in love with the animals they used to hunt, make a decent wage protecting them and thus can support their families. Expanding this program won’t provide jobs for all who need them, but it will make a huge dent in the problems of poverty and gorilla murder.
Sign this petition to demand the poacher to ranger program be expanded and protect gorillas from murder.
Dear President Kabila,
The population of the Virunga region needs your help. This area is largely poor. Desperate for food and money, they’ve turned to murder. Each gorilla murdered likely leaves a baby gorilla orphaned and drastically decreases the overall population of gorillas in the region due to their slow reproductive rates. Murdering our closest primate ancestors should not be an option these people need to consider.
There is a life-changing (for both gorillas and humans) program already in place. This program turns poachers into rangers. Given that the ranger staff in the region is severely short-handed, expanding this program would provide the rangers with much-needed help, people with much-needed jobs, and the gorillas with much-needed protection.
This region is hundreds of miles from the most populated areas of the Congo, but it is most in need of help. Don’t let more gorillas be murdered and orphaned. Expand the poachers to rangers program and save the lives of your people and primates.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Cai Tjeenk Willink