Jennifer McCarthy via Crowdrise
December 30, 2010
BENEFITING: GORONGOSA RESTORATION PROJECT INC
Global Wildlife Co-Existance is an official, non profit organization who's aim is to educate communities around the world on how to co-exist with wildlife. We are working to secure 100 acres in the mountains of Colorado to start construction on our first educational facility. This facility will take a hands on approach to get people close to animals they may never have a chance to meet much less understand. We currently give free speaking engagements and speak through various forms of media to bring greater awareness to the subject.
With such issues as over population, urban sprawl and lack of habitat facing wildlife today, we believe this cause is not only an important one, but key to certain species very survival.
Please give to the important following cause and read the moving story of my recent experience in Gorongosa National Park...
"My time at Gorongosa was one of the best times of my life. I intend to go back as more animals are re-introduced. I toured the re-introduction pen for Hyenas which will be there soon as well as the area for Zebras, etc. to be transported to the area after all studies are completed. To put my experience in words and pictures would not be doing Gorongosa justice. The people I met, the stories of war, survival and the resilient hope I saw in people's eyes was nothing short of amazing. And to think this was- at one time, the most abundant game area in all of Africa.
I heard about the restoration project going on there at a premiere party in Denver for their National Geographic Special- "Africa's Lost Eden". When I heard the story, I immediately thought of the wolf re-introduction project in Yellowstone that very well changed not only the ecology, people's perception of how important keystone predators are but also the huge advances that were made with the Trophic Cascade, etc.
The idea of an area going through these changes with so many species not only fascinated me but I wanted to be a part of it. Something told me I had to go to Africa...
This trip has not only given me more knowledge of such amazing creatures, the landscape and people that have a love/hate relationship with nature but it has changed me not only professionally but personally.
I felt that by connecting with people living in such poverty, sitting down and eating corn with them and their struggles to put food on the table for their family that it gave me a different perspective. I understood why so many had come to a last resort and went trecking into the park and poaching an animal to survive- they had nothing to eat. On the flip side, I had dinner with Carlos Lopes Pereira, Gorongosa's Director of Conservation. A man I have much respect for given the huge task in front of him. (By the way, Carlos is a former canine handler and used Belgian Malinois to de-mine many areas of the park.) He talked to me about the other poachers- the ones making money by killing an Elephant for it's tusks and killing Rhino's for their horns. These animals were killed for money- left to die. Carlos's first task was to secure the park from poachers which employed a local task force of guards patrolling the perimeter every 10 or so meters but sometimes the poachers would still get in. One poacher even lost his pants somewhere in the bush that were left behind as he was chased off, so there is a pantless poacher somewhere in or outside Gorongosa National Park incase you happen to spot him. Overall however, poaching has signifigantly decreased since protecting the area but it is still an issue that the park faces weekly.
The problems Gorongosa faces are all but similar to management in Yellowstone. Monitoring behavior patterns and keeping close tabs on animals that may not be used to cars driving off at any little sign of an elephant charge or something similar but the bottom line is this- Of the few animals that did survive the brutal civil war, they did so through adaptation...."