Groups around the world are working to save gorillas from extinction. This week, some experts from around the globe are in Santa Barbara to talk about those efforts.
The four day long event, the Western Regional Gorilla Workshop, is the opportunity to share the latest information with those involved in caring for gorillas.
Among those on hand are some of the conservationists feature in the Academy Award nominated documentary “Virunga,” which focused on the massive 7800 square mile national park in the Congo which is key habitat for the gorillas. The national park was a battleground for warring factions in the region, and some gorillas were massacred.
Virunga Ranger Andre Bauma became known for helping to rescue orphaned gorillas, and says it's been a life changing experience.
Dr. Eddy Kambale is a veterinarian who worked with the orphaned gorillas, and is on hand for the Santa Barbara conference. He admits it was overwhelming at first, because he didn’t know how to deal with an orphaned newborn gorilla. Kambale says they improvised, and made it work.
Robert Williams is with Virunga National Park. He’s one of three people based in the U-S working to raise awareness about it, Williams says that security measure have been working in the park, and that the gorilla population there has increased in recent years.
But, protecting the gorillas and other natural resources is dangerous work. More than 160 rangers have been killed in conflicts with armed militias using remote parts of the park as sanctuary from government, and U-N forces. That human cost puts a whole new face on conservation efforts.