Eastern and Western Lowland, Mountain and Cross-River Gorillas invaded London on the 20th of September 2014. An estimated 600 Londoners, all dressed as gorillas participated in the 8km City and Bankside fun run. What a spectacle for tourists wandering around Tower Bridge or St Paul’s Cathedral!
The Gorilla Organization held the very first Gorilla Run in 2003 with the aim of seeking support to protect gorillas. The organization’s mission is to protect every type of gorilla species. All four types of the Great Gorillas live in Central and West Africa and are under serious threat. They live in the most densely populated areas of Africa, where humans and animals both have to fight for the same land and their survival. Gorillas are losing their territories due to the destruction of their natural habitat, the rainforests, and as a result, the Great Gorillas have now became one of the most endangered species in the world.
For example, only around 250 of the rarely seen Cross-River Gorillas might be left in the world. But the Mountain Gorillas are also in a tight squeeze, and the latest estimate is that there are no more than 800 of them left in the forests of Africa. These numbers are tragic.
It’s clear that the situation is pressing, but we still can have some fun while helping the work of the Gorilla Organization. During the last 11 years this incredible event has managed to raise more than £2 million for conservation work and for the poverty reduction of affected communities. To limit the confrontations between humans and animals, the Gorilla Organization works together with African NGOs to give local communities alternative solutions which help to keep the forest for the gorillas. Simple technology like new firewood saving stoves or water cisterns make a huge difference in the lives of both humans and animals.
This writing is a slightly changed version of my article originally published in The London Insider.