PARIS – Today’s new agreement endorsed by nine African countries to better protect gorillas is a major conservation achievement, said World Wildlife Fund and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.
“Following the recent deaths of several endangered gorillas from poachers, this agreement is good news for the species,” said Tom Dillon, senior vice president, WWF’s Field Programs. “It’s the first treaty that legally obligates key African countries to act in a coordinated manner against threats to these amazing animals.”
Functioning like a mini-convention or treaty, the agreement specifies efforts that governments need to undertake and to collaborate on. These include combating poaching, supporting law enforcement and building capacity in the legal and judicial areas. The agreement will be legally binding, unlike previous declarations from the range countries, such as the GrASP Kinshasa declaration in 2005.
Central African Republic, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Cameroon, and Gabon participated in the talks while Rwanda was unable to attend. WWF and TRAFFIC, which are active in gorilla conservation in most of the range countries, were heavily engaged in the negotiation process and final text.
"TRAFFIC warmly welcomes the new agreement, which marks a major conservation achievement," said Roland Melisch, TRAFFIC's Global Programme coordinator. "The priority now is to make sure that the agreement's recommendations can be turned into conservation action as soon as possible. Only then will we see an upturn in the fortunes of these magnificent animals."