With bushmeat trade on the rise and gorillas the decline, there's never been a better time to make the trek to Africa to check out these wild yet humanlike beasts for yourself. Let's face it, in a few more years, you may not have the chance.
An undercover investigation conducted by Endangered Species International recently revealed that four percent of the gorilla population in Kouilou, a region of the Republic of Congo, is being poached each month, as reported by the BBC. If nothing changes, within a year, 50 percent of the some 200 gorillas in the area may be wiped out—shipped down the Kouilou River to Pointe Noire and sold at $6 per handful of meat.
ESI estimates that at least 300 gorillas a year are sold to markets in the Republic of Congo. They hope to stop the killing in the area by implementing educational conservation programs, working with hunters, and creating a gorilla nature reserve.
You can do your part, too: Ecotourism gorilla tracking trips help protect the natural environment of these very endangered animals and place a premium on living gorillas. And with deals celebrating 2009 as the United Nations' Year of the Gorilla, you'll be conserving cash as well as primates. Try a gorilla scouting adventure in Uganda or Rwanda with Volcanoes Safaris. Permits cost up to $500 per person, but Volcanoes is offering a second permit free on six-day safaris through 2010. On a tailor-made trip, take advantage of two free nights at eco-friendly Mount Gahinga Lodge. See Volacanoes Safaris's Adventure Ratings profile here.
Photograph courtesy of Volcanoes Safaris