How JGI Helps Save Endangered Species
Friday, May 16, 2014, is Endangered Species Day in the United States. While the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) has always been committed to protecting Africa’s endangered wild chimpanzee populations, chimpanzees are not the only endangered species that benefit from JGI’s many projects.
One of the biggest threats facing all endangered species is habitat loss. Shrinking habitats mean fewer resources for these dwindling animal populations, and contribute to harmful human/animal conflict as human settlements, logging and mining companies encroach on what was once pristine wilderness. Nowhere is this more easily seen than in the forests that chimpanzees and many other endangered species call home.
This is why JGI’s project to protect Africa’s forests from the effects of deforestation are so important. Projects like JGI’s tree-planting initiative and our sustainable livelihoods programs not only help chimpanzees, they also aid in the preservation of forests that other endangered species such as mandrills, gorillas, and forest elephants must rely on for survival.
Below are photos and stories of several endangered or vulnerable species other than chimpanzees that benefit from JGI’s protection of chimpanzees and their habitat.
Due to their striking appearance, mandrills are often captured by poachers and sold illegally as exotic pets. At JGI’s Tchimpounga sanctuary in the Republic of the Congo, JGI has rescued and rehabilitated several mandrills who were taken from the forest by poachers. In fact, JGI is in the process of releasing many of these rehabilitated mandrills back into the wild. This will not only give these rescued mandrills the freedom that they deserve, we hope that it will also bolster the areas’ threatened mandrill population.
African elephants are listed as a vulnerable species by the IUCN, and due to habitat loss and poachers who hunt them for their ivory tusks, their numbers are falling drastically. One day, while participating in our Mandrill Release Project in the Conkouati National Park in the Congo, alert JGI staff members aided authorities in locating a notorious elephant poacher … even helping catch him when he escaped! The presence of JGI staff in that forest likely saved the lives of many of the Congo’s forest elephants.
Like chimpanzees, gorillas are highly intelligent, highly social great apes. Unfortunately, also like chimpanzees, gorillas have been pushed to the brink of extinction. JGI has teamed up with the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund International and several other organizations to fight for the survival of gorillas living in the forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. JGI is contributing to this effort by using cutting-edge technology to assist in monitoring gorilla populations and changes to their forest habitat.
Sandhill Cranes are large, migratory birds that live in freshwater wetlands. Though numerous, some populations of Sandhill cranes have become endangered due to the destruction and degradation of their habitat. The yearly migration of Sandhill Cranes is a sight so spectacular that Dr. Jane Goodall regularly travels to witness it. If you would like to join JGI on a trip to view the Sandhill cranes migration, click here.