Gorilla Defenders

Gorilla Defenders logo

In the heart of Africa’s rugged embrace sits the iconic mountain gorilla, one of our closest primate relatives of which we share 98% of our DNA! These gentle guardians of Uganda’s rainforests are extremely intelligent, very communicative and have advanced problem-solving abilities. 

Yet they are critically endangered; ever since their discovery mountain gorillas have faced poaching, civil wars, deforestation and persistent encroachment on their territory at the hands of humans. This has led to a drastic fall in their wild population, hitting a low of 254 in 1981, with today’s population sitting at just 1,063. The mountain gorilla is in danger from poachers and through encroachment and habitat loss from the illegal forest trade, often forcing them to migrate through areas that poachers frequent.

Uganda is home to half of the mountain gorillas left on our planet. We must protect them.

And although it is people who have been the mountain gorillas biggest threat to survival, it is by working with the local community that offers their best hope.

This is why Viva! is collaborating with HUGO (Human & Gorilla Conflict Resolution teams), with the fantastic collaboration of the Ugandan Wildlife Authority,  to supply the much-needed equipment to the wonderful volunteers who protect the critically endangered mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park.

Viva!’s Gorilla Defenders are helping support the training of over 100 HUGO volunteers in gorilla behaviour, tracking and containment, keeping them securely within the forest areas they can protect to ensure the gorillas aren’t exposed to local poachers or other human-wildlife conflict. The HUGO volunteers are also trained to monitor the health of the gorillas, looking for signs of sickness and to collect faecal samples for testing.

Yet, these volunteers, charged with such an important task are underequipped, trekking in worn down boots and coats, lacking walkie talkies while having to brave the wilderness with little protection due to a lack of tents to stay in when tracking prevents them from going home. Viva! Uganda was invited to help the mountain gorillas though supporting HUGO, by the UWA, to get the necessary equipment for the volunteers to be able to protect the gorillas to the best of their ability. 

Through your donations, Viva! Uganda will be directly supplying HUGO with:

  • Rain-proof Gear
    • Insulating Jackets
    • Rain-proof coats
  • Preventative Materials
    • Surgical Gloves
  • Stationary
    • Pens
    • Notebooks
  • Field Equipment
    • Gumboots
    • Water bottles
    • Field cameras
    • Camping tents
    • Walkie talkies

We will also be supporting vital training.

This collaborative project is managed on the ground by Viva! staff who ensure that the equipment arrives on time and that everything goes where it’s needed; with every piece of equipment making the HUGO volunteers jobs easier.

On top of supplying equipment, Viva! Uganda and HUGO will be running an informative campaign in local dialects around Bwindi National Park to ensure that local communities support the protection of the beloved mountain gorillas. 

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