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Launch of tree-planting appeal
09 December 2009

It is estimated that up to 30% of the rainforest in DR Congo will disappear by 2030. The forest is being felled to make way for roads, mining camps and farmland, and to supply charcoal for heating and cooking. Deforestation is causing untold damage to the local environment, and is having a devastating impact on the gorillas that live there.

It’s estimated that 90% of the population of eastern lowland gorillas has been wiped out in just five years. There are now just 3,000 eastern lowland gorillas left in the wild, found almost exclusively in the rainforests of Kahuzi-Biega National Park in DR Congo.

The scale of the deforestation is hard to comprehend – over 10,000km2 of forest are being lost every year. However, determined not to stand by and watch habitat loss drive gorillas to extinction, in 2002 the Gorilla Organization launched a tree-planting project in Kahuzi-Biega. 

We have now planted over 1.5 million trees and created a vital buffer zone between farmland and the precious gorilla habitat around Kahuzi-Biega National Park. As well as preventing environmental degradation and protecting the gorilla forest, the trees provide a sustainable source of fuel for farmers, and as part of the project communities are also encouraged to plant fruit trees on their own land to provide a sustainable source of fruit outside the gorilla habitat. Any surplus can be sold to pay for basic provisions such as salt, soap and medicine, or more seeds to plant.

However, there is still so much to be done. While Gorilla Organization trees are flourishing, across Africa it’s estimated that for every 28 trees cut down just one is replanted.

The Gorilla Organization tree-planting appeal aims to provide the seeds, tools and equipment to plant trees, and help to rebuild the precious gorilla habitat. Just £5 could grow and plant one tree, while £25 pays for a wheelbarrow and other equipment in a tree nursery. A gift of £50 would employ two gardeners for a month, while £200 is enough to plant 40 trees in a quarter of a hectare of forest.

Click here to support the appeal
 

for further information or photographs contact:

David Hewitt, Communications Manager
The Gorilla Organization, 110 Gloucester Avenue, London, Nw1 8HX
Tel: 020 7916 4974
Mobile: 07801 971123
david@gorillas.org
www.gorillas.org