photos by michal cizek (1,3,5,7,9) of kijivu, a western lowland gorilla, with her two day old baby at the zoo in prague; and fredrikvon erichsen (2,4,6,8) of rebecca and her three day old daugher at the frankfurt zoo.
with less than 800 mountain gorillas and only 2500 eastern lowland gorillas left in the world, gorilla populations are now so low that birthing programs such of these are needed to ensure sufficient genetic diversity of the species.
Netflix’s ‘Virunga’ uncovers Congo’s fight to protect resources
British filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel did not expect a civil war to break out when he arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012 to profile Virunga National Park’s plans for tourism and economic development.
But that’s exactly what happened as he filmed his first feature-length documentary.
the bullet ridden bodies of a silver back alpha male and three females were discovered and removed from the virunga national park in the eastern congo by rangers working with wildlife direct. one female was pregnant, and the other two had babies who, unable to be located, most likely died from stress and dehydration.
the murders are the suspected result of clashes between conservationists and the illegal charcoal industry who rely on the park’s hardwood to make and sell coal fuel. over 100 park rangers have been killed protecting the gorillas, one of the world’s most endangered species (there are only 700 left).
andre, an iccn ranger pictured above, is a self described gorilla mother, caring for four gorillas orphaned (one of whom lost a hand) after their families were killed under similar circumstances. despite having a family of his own, andre lives with the gorillas 24/7, describing them as his own children; his own kids refer to the gorillas as their brothers and sisters.
It is estimated to have killed one-third of the world’s combined population of chimpanzees and gorillas, according to the Jane Goodall Foundation and is just as deadly to declining populations of gorillas and chimpanzees as it is humans — with up to a 90% mortality rate — putting further stress on many at-risk or endangered species.