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Gorilla Agreement to advance gorilla conservation
02 November 2007

On Friday 26 October, the Gorilla Organization signed the ‘Paris Agreement on the Conservation of Gorillas and their Habitat’, also known as the Gorilla Agreement. The Gorilla Organization warmly welcomes this agreement, which for the first time in history provides governments from the African range states, as well as other governments and organisations involved, with a legal framework that will reinforce and integrate conservation efforts.

While the Kinshasa Declaration signed in 2005 took great steps to protect primates, it did not have any legal standing. This time, countries will be legally obligated to act in a coordinated manner against threats to the largest of the great ape species. The agreement specifies efforts that governments need to undertake and to collaborate on, including supporting law enforcement and building capacity in the legal and judicial areas.

Dan Bucknell, the Gorilla Organization’s regional programme manager present at the agreement signing said, "The three days of negotiation went very smoothly and it is highly significant that for the very first time we have an international, legally-binding agreement to protect all gorilla populations, to which governments can be held. It is therefore essential that the words are converted into action. The Gorilla Organization will have a key role to play in carrying out such action wherever gorillas naturally occur."

Triggered by the unprecedented slaughter of Mountain gorillas earlier in the year, the agreement was prepared by the UNEP Convention on Migratory Species, with its partners in the Great Ape Survival Project (GRASP) Partnership and the French government. Formal negotiations were the opened in Paris on 22nd October.

The agreement was endorsed by ministers from nine African countries, 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. This a major conservation achievement, which will undoubtedly boost protection for wild gorillas.

The agreement recognizes that some gorilla populations benefit from concerted conservation and restoration efforts and welcomes the positive effects that this has. However gorillas as a whole remain in danger of extinction, and continue to face severe threats.

The Gorilla Organization assures its support to work with governments and local communities to help make the Gorilla agreement a reality, for the benefit of gorillas and their habitats.
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