UN Ambassador Calls for Recognizing Large Mammals’ Role in Forests in Climate Change Negotiations
13 October 2009: Large mammals, such as gorillas and elephants, are keystone species in African rainforests and should be included in the upcoming climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, according to UN Ambassador for the Year of the Gorilla Ian Redmond.
Redmond has just returned from a fact-finding mission across eight African gorilla range States, and his insights highlight the need for a comprehensive approach to conserve rain forests and gorillas in the Congo Basin. Gorillas are second to elephants in the number of seeds they disperse each day in African forests. The survival of forests requires the protection of the animals in them as well as the trees. In the long term, deforestation is as much a consequence of over-hunting as of cutting trees for charcoal or timber. Supporting existing national action plans to halt deforestation of gorilla habitat is one of the major objectives of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Agreement on the Conservation of Gorilla and their Habitat during the Year of the Gorilla campaign.