The Gorilla Organization aims to protect the habitat of the endangered eastern lowland gorilla by promoting tree-growing in the communities around the Kahuzi-Biega National Park, DR Congo. The establishment of a buffer zone not only separates the forest and local farmland, but also provides local communities with a source of firewood and timber so they no longer have to rely on the trees of the forest.
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Registered Charity in England and Wales (1117131)
With fewer than 3,000 eastern lowland gorillas remaining in the wild, populations are under threat from habitat loss caused by illegal mining, political conflict, encroachment and trespassing. It is estimated that around the Kahuzi-Biega National Park, which is home to this sub-species, approximately 95% of all energy consumption comes from burning wood. The park has therefore been under intense pressure from local communities who rely on it as a source of firewood, as well as exploiting the forests for timber. The Gorilla Organization began working with a local partner in 2002 to plant trees on the periphery of the national park, creating a buffer zone between the forest and local farmland and providing a source of much-needed timber and firewood. Fifteen nurseries have been established, where tree saplings are cultivated and grown before being planted out into the buffer zone or distributed for planting on individual farms. At present the project is concentrating on four species of tree: Grevillea robusta; Markhamia lutea; Cassia; and Eucalyptus. While not indigenous, these species are fast-growing and both Grevillea and Eucalyptus grow incredibly straight, making them ideal for poles and timber. Through the project, more than 500,000 trees have been planted and the buffer zone continues to grow, further protecting the forests and safeguarding the future of the eastern lowland gorilla. Annual funding provides; - Agricultural materials including tools, seeds and fertilisers - Procurement of land for nurseries - Operating and travel costs including staff salaries, office supplies and communications
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