Wildlife Wood Project (WWP)
Ensuring the long-term survival of the western lowland gorilla and its forest habitat across the region, through a combination of approaches including research into status and threats and improving wildlife management in timber concessions.
The species ranges across central Africa in the forests of Gabon, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, the Republic of Congo and Angola. Until recently it was thought that there was a single gorilla species with three subspecies (western lowland, eastern lowland and mountain gorillas) but DNA analysis revealed significant differences between eastern and western populations. Today, the western gorilla has two recognized subspecies: Gorilla gorilla gorilla (western lowland gorillas) and Gorilla gorilla diehli (Cross River gorillas). The most populous and wide-ranging is the western lowland gorilla but it is classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List due to a population decreased of over 60% in the past 25 years.
Even though they number around 100,000, they have suffered a rapid population decline because of increased hunting for the bushmeat trade, exacerbated by logging and other development activities (which increases forest access and poaching) and the Ebola virus which has caused a series of massive gorilla die-offs in remote forest blocks at the heart of their range since the early 1990s.
This project is working with logging companies to ensure that forests allocated to logging concessions contribute to the conservation of wildlife in the Congo Basin’s forests. This is done through the developing of comprehensive wildlife management plans, building capacity of companies and government to implement these plans, and involving local communities in managing their forest resources.
1) Establish new partnerships so that wildlife management and monitoring systems can be applied in other forests in and beyond the Congo basin.
2) Working with international authorities and certification bodies to ensure that laws and policies have clear guidelines for logging companies and incorporate the best wildlife management practices.
3) The management and monitoring model can be integrated with other systems of forest management such as proposed REDD schemes
A female gorilla and her baby are caught on a camera trap in Cameroon
A male silverback gorilla resting in the forest
Measuring the size of a gorilla's nest in a tree
A ranger pauses to compare the size of a gorilla paw to his hand
Cameroon's rainforests need better management and maintenance to preserve them