These incredible creatures can only be found in two parts of Africa – the rainy, cold mountain forests of Virunga Volcanoes and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Much of their habitat has been lost to make way for farms and homes. Weighing up to 180kg, these mighty mammals are rarely poached by humans but this doesn’t mean that they don’t get caught up in traps and snares, that have been set up to catch other animals such as buffalo or antelope. Since they’re so similar to us, they can also catch human illnesses – even the common cold.
It’s not all bad news however as since 2010, these creatures have experienced an increase of 25%. This is thanks to intensive conservation work, which focusses on helping locals and gorillas live along side one another in harmony. For example, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, along with WWF, helped reduce the locals need to enter into the gorilla’s habitats along with promoting eco-tourism projects to help these locals earn a living from gorilla conservation. The most recent count revealed that there are more than 600 individuals living in the wild.
I have a vague idea of the kind of things that are on my bucket list but I’ve never really sat down to write it and put everything in an order of things I’d want to do first. But, with that said, the things that have always remained a constant on my list have been…
Travelling to Borneo to see wild Orangutans
Heading to Uganda/Rwanda to track wild gorillas
Entering Tutankhamun’s tomb and retracing the steps of my relative, Howard Carter
Meeting all my favourite queens at RuPaul’s DragCon in L.A
#273: If you could pause real life and spend some time living with a family anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Easy… Borneo or Rwanda to live with a family of Orang-utans or Gorillas. It didn’t specify that it had to be a human family! I’ve always dreamed of seeing these fascinating primates in the wild, so this would be ideal.
#246: If your day to day responsibilities were taken care of and you could throw yourself completely behind a cause, what would it be?
That’s a tricky one! My first thought was that I’d throw myself into stopping the use and production of Palm Oil, and help conservation efforts protect endangered primates, such as orangutans, chimps and gorillas. For anyone who hasn’t been following my blog, this is something I’m fairly passionate about as I think primates are absolutely fascinating, but unfortunately the awareness of Palm Oil is still rather low. When you really look into it, it’s terrifying to see how many products contain this killer oil. To make everyone’s life easier however, the Rainforest Foundation have kindly put a database together, clearly indicating which products we should be avoiding! What are you waiting for… it couldn’t be easier!
However, the more I think about it, if all of my responsibilities were taken care of I’d put all my efforts into stopping terrorist organisations such as ISIS from killing more innocent people and journalists, finding the hundreds of school girls Boko Haram kidnapped five months ago and just putting a stop to extremists in general. How many more people need to be killed before these groups realise – war achieves nothing and never will.
#181: Describe your first memorable experience exploring and spending time in nature. Were you in awe? Or were you not impressed? Would you rather spend time in the forest or the city?
I’ve been thinking about this for at least 20 minutes and, quite sadly, have to admit that I can’t think of a single time where I’ve explored/spent a substantial amount of time (not even half an hour!) just taking in nature. I do remember when I was younger spending time lying on the grass, watching the butterflies flitting around our huge buddleia tree in the garden but I’m guessing that doesn’t count. Although I do remember how enchanting it was to watch them – sounds silly but they do have a mysterious way of moving and just being.
That said, I would love nothing more to go to somewhere like Borneo (Orangutans), Rwanda (Gorillas), Uganda (Chimpanzees), or even on an African Safari (Giraffes, Elephants, Lions etc) where I could simply sit and watch the wild animals live their lives. I can imagine that is an absolutely incredible thing to witness!