By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Evolutionists believe that man had evolved from the
great apes. And now biodiversity activists argue that protection of
gorillas is quite important, as they will save the earth.
Conservation of the habitat of gorillas will help in improving the
health of humans as major challenging diseases often emerge from great
apes and transmit to humans, point out experts from the Great Apes
Survival Partnership (Grasp), a UNEP/Unesco partnership.
They emphasise the need to lift the threat of extinction faced by
gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans. At a presentation at
the 11th Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention
on Biological Diversity here, Douglas Cress of GRASP described great
apes as a “flagship species” as they are also relevant for livelihoods
and revenue generation.
He said great apes are critically endangered due to habitat loss and
fragmentation, illegal logging and mining, poaching and bushmeat trade
and encroachment and disease. Great apes could be used as a “calling
call” to leverage conservation. Douglas Cress said the most deadly
diseases emanate from great apes and they can be transferred back and
forth between humans and apes. Human pathogens are negatively
affecting wild apes.
Cress said in Central Africa, human encroachment and habitat loss are
bringing human and great apes populations into regular contact,
blurring the buffer zones that used to exist. An additional threat to
great apes is from the extremely mobile human population in the region
and lack of barriers into the national parks, which are consistently
breached by refugees.
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