Gorillas, along with chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and humans, form the group of “great apes”, species with which humans share much of our DNA and which we have literally brought to the brink of extinction.
This Saturday, September 24, World Gorilla Day is celebrated, a species that is Critically Endangered according to the IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature), which has motivated a transcendental international mobilization to save them.
Faced with this evident need to “take action”, Bioparc Fuengirola (Málaga) is working on several projects for the conservation of this species together with the park located in Valencia and an international project in the Ebo forest in Cameroon.
In this way, the Valencia and Fuengirola Bioparcs work for their ex situ conservation –in the parks– through the European Program for the Conservation of Endangered Species (EEP) to try to guarantee their survival and have consolidated relevant groups. In fact, Bioparc Fuengirola is the only park in Andalusia that is home to a family of gorillas
Just about to turn ten years old, the first gorilla in the Valencian Community, Ebo, was born in Bioparc Valencia; who is accompanied by Virunga (6 years old), Pepe (4 years old) and Félix (3 years old), all the offspring of the male Mambie and the females Ali, Nalani and Fossey. The behavior of “single males” can also be seen, with Jitu and Kabuli.
And Bioparc Fuengirola is also the only park in Andalusia to house a family of gorillas, the fruit of which was born the precious Ekan, “the first Andalusian gorilla”, who will soon be two years old. During this time, this reproductive group, made up of the male Echo and the females Buu, Wefa and Kim, has become established.
They also work to “save” gorillas in the wild. In this sense, the Bioparc Foundation is the only Spanish entity that collaborates in the Ebo Forest Research Project, an initiative that protects an isolated group of gorillas in the Ebo forest, in Cameroon, a virgin forest discovered in 2002 and that in full pandemic was on the verge of disappearing, converted into a logging concession and later transformed into an oil palm cultivation field.
But from Bioparc they assure that «all this effort of the conservationist world is not enough without the support of society. It is necessary to achieve a commitment to change behaviors and that development is not at the cost of the destruction of the forests.
To do this, Bioparc emphasizes publicizing the status of the species. Among the main threats, they point out the loss of habitat, since their territories treasure coveted materials such as coltan or exotic wood, and war conflicts and poaching. For this reason, they consider it a priority to “promote ethical and respectful development, as well as responsible consumption, demanding products that certify their sustainability.”