Here we are committed
Active CO² savings and WWF sponsorship
In 2005, we realized the largest photovoltaic plant in Kahl am Main. Since then, more than 300 tons of CO² have been avoided.
Our building renovation until 2018 will result in a further 15.5 tons of CO² savings per year.
Our goal is to become energy self-sufficient by 2025.
We have been supporting the WWF with our sponsorship since 2006.
UNESCO has designated a transnational protected area “Trinational de la Sangha” as a World Heritage Site. Another Meiulenstein in the Cape for the preservation of the last mountain gorillas. The goal by 2020 is to bring the main threat from deforestation to a net 0.
Anyone who has ever been to Africa feels this fascination that this continent exerts on us Europeans. In many places, however, the threat of overexploitation of nature becomes visible. Many animal species are quietly dying out without this touching our perception. The gorillas in the Congo, however, repeatedly give rise to sad headlines all the way to Europe. They are representative of all extinct breeds.
Western lowland gorilla & mountain gorilla
There are two species of gorilla: the Eastern Gorilla (Gorilla beringet) with the subspecies Mountain Gorilla and Eastern Lowland Gorilla (or Grey Gorilla), and the Western Gorilla (Gorilla goril-la) with the subspecies Western Lowland Gorilla and Cross River Gorilla. The Western Lowland Gorilla has a brownish-gray coat with a reddish to maroon scoop, in contrast to the completely black coat of the Eastern Gorilla. Also, unlike their more easterly relatives, adult males of the Western gorilla have a “silverback” that extends to the thighs.
Our relatives are weighty. Adult male gorillas weigh an average of 200 kg – sometimes even more than 300 kg. They are often twice as heavy as the females. When standing on two legs, the gentle giants reach a height of up to 1.70 meters. In the wild, they live to be 35 years and older. Gorillas feed on fruits, berries, shoots, leaves, herbs, roots, and bark, passively ingesting animals such as snails and insects in their diet. They live in a highly developed social structure made up of closely knit family members. These groups roam an area of 5 to 30 km². In the Western Gorilla, gorilla groups consist of four to five females and usually as many young. The Eastern gorillas form a family alliance of usually 15 to 20 animals. The associations are usually led by a single adult male, known as the silverback.
The western lowland gorilla is considered critically endangered, and individual isolated groups are even threatened with extinction. Today, about 90,000 animals still live in partially isolated groups in the forests of Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and possibly in the Angolan Cabinda Enclave.
The last 700 or so mountain gorillas live in two scattered populations. About 400 animals are still found in protected areas of the Virunga Mountains in the tri-border area of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The second population lives in Uganda in the forests of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Depletion of the forest and its inhabitants
The gorillas’ habitat, the tropical rainforest with its unique wealth of plants and animals, is threatened with falling victim to the destructive work of saws and axes. Reckless logging has increased sharply in recent years and has caused forest areas to shrink considerably. Further wounds are inflicted on the forest stand by unregulated slash-and-burn agriculture, although the land gained is rather poor and the yields from it are disproportionate to the losses in species richness. In the summer of 2004, for example, settlers illegally cleared 1,500 hectares of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a matter of days. Road construction, mining and other infrastructure projects are also taking their toll on the apes – especially as poaching is steadily increasing as a result. The survival of the peaceful gorilla families is severely threatened by habitat loss, illegal hunting, the bushmeat and live animal trade, introduced diseases and civil wars. In parts of Gabon and the Republic of Congo, up to 90 percent of gorilla populations have fallen victim to the Ebola virus. Reduced populations are now even more vulnerable to illegal hunting and habitat loss. If no course correction is made, more than 90 percent of the great apes’ current habitat in the African jungle will have been destroyed by 2030. At that point, most great ape populations will become extinct within the next 25 to 50 years.
Protected area for the western lowland gorilla and its forest
In the extreme southwestern tip of the Central African Republic lies the Dzanga-Sangha Conservation Area, where WWF is working with GTZ to support the government in its conservation efforts.
Numerous families of the western lowland gorilla find the conditions that ensure their survival in this still-stable retreat, alongside other threatened species such as the forest elephant, the shy bongo antelope and the chimpanzee. But the forests of the Central African Republic are threatened by increasingly intensive logging. Other threatening factors, in addition to gold and diamond mining, include the increasing bushmeat trade and expanding agricultural land. WWF wants to put a stop to this devastating trend in order to save the unique biodiversity in the tropical forests.
For example, WWF supports the Dzanga-Sangha Protected Area Complex in the Central African Republic (CAR), a paradise for western lowland gorillas. At WWF’s suggestion, Dzanga-Sangha was designated as a protected area complex by the government in 1990.
For this the WWF us as sponsors
By becoming a sponsor, you will help ensure the survival of the Western Lowland Gorilla and its habitat.
WWF Germany supports the protection of the forest area in the following areas:
- Establishment of an efficient protected area administration
Training, equipment and payment of game wardens
Support for the local population in the areas of health and primary school care
Environmental education and promotion of sustainable management methods
Control of forest concessions
Promotion of ecotourism
Development of a transboundary contiguous protected area complex that includes forest areas in Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Congo.
Establishment of an environmental fund as a central component of a long-term financing concept.
The project implementation
WWF Germany assumes project responsibility in Central Africa. In the Central African Republic and Gabon, it works closely with WWF USA, and in Cameroon with WWF Netherlands.
The implementation of the individual measures is carried out by the national WWF offices on site in close cooperation with the relevant African partner organizations, the local population and with the approval of the governments and authorities affected.
Help for the people means protection for the mountain gorilla
Mountain gorillas are among the most endangered mammals in the world. To ensure the long-term protection of the species and its habitats in its three range states of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) was founded in 1991. In the IGCP, WWF and two other international environmental protection organizations work closely with the protected area authorities of the three bordering countries. In the past ten years, this transboundary commitment has led to a 17 percent increase in the gorilla population to about 700 mountain gorillas. But the growing population and also the difficult political situation endanger the survival of the mountain gorillas. More and more of their habitat is disappearing. It is being converted into agricultural land or cleared for firewood. In Rwanda, eastern Congo and Uganda, about 91 percent of the population lives from agriculture, and for that they need cultivable land. For more than 96 percent of the people, wood, which they also collect in the protected areas, is the only source of energy. In addition, about 40,000 people have fled to the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some refugee camps have also been set up not far from Virunga National Park. The people there need wood for cooking, for heating – for survival. But Virunga National Park is also home to 150 endangered mountain gorillas.
Together with the IGCP, WWF is committed to helping the people in this region create alternative sources of income and make the use of wood sustainable. In the long term, the habitat of the mountain gorilla and many other species can be preserved and their survival secured.
For this we need sponsors
By becoming a sponsor, you will help to ensure the survival of the mountain gorilla and its habitat.
WWF’s measures to protect the mountain gorilla are:
Environmental education and a close cooperation with the local population around the protected areas and development of alternative income opportunities (e.g. ecotourism),
to stop overexploitation in the protected areas.
Training and coordination of protected area staff.
Scientific monitoring of gorillas to learn more about population trends to identify threats early.
Working closely with the United Nations Refugee Program to promptly provide firewood to refugees to prevent them from entering Virunga National Park.
Regulating logging in Virunga National Park and creating wood reserves outside the protected area. Over the past 20 years, WWF has helped plant about ten million trees around Virunga National Park. This amount of timber is almost sufficient to supply the local people.
WWF is part of the International Gorilla Conservation Program, working closely with the conservation organizations African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and Fauna and Flora International (FFI), as well as the three protected area authorities of Congo: Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN), Rwanda: Office Rwandais de Tourisme et des Parcs Nationaux (ORTPN) and Uganda: Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
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