WWF's work to save gorillas

Saving gorillas in the wild is a complex and difficult task - but certainly within our hands. And each of us has a role to play, from policy makers down to consumers across the world.
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Virunga National Park guide, Kadega Mwenza, with a mountain gorilla. Democratic Republic of Congo
© WWF-Canon / Martin HARVEY

Gorillas have been a WWF flagship species for 50 years

Through our African Great Apes Programme, we are actively working to protect all four gorilla subspecies through:
  • Improving the effectiveness of protected areas
  • Stopping the illegal trade in gorilla products
  • Increasing support for gorilla conservation among both local and international communities
Gorilla conservation programs not only work to protect the gorillas themselves but also help to protect thousands of other species of animals and plants that are found in gorilla habitat.

On the ground

We are working in collaboration with a wide range of partners in several gorilla range states to both conserve gorilla habitat and populations, as well as help improve the quality of life of local people. 

Find out more about specific projects for:

And in the policy arena

We are also pushing for policies that help gorillas.

The Gorilla Agreement

The Gorilla Agreement, which is a part of the Convention of Migratory Species, came in to full effect in June 2008 and is the first agreement to legally oblige governments in the 10 countries where gorillas live to work together to combat the threats faced by gorillas in the wild, and find coordinated solutions for gorilla conservation by requiring collaboration on issues such as anti-poaching and law enforcement.

The agreement is legally binding, unlike previous declarations from the range countries, such as the GrASP Kinshasa Declaration in 2005.

WWF and TRAFFIC, who are active in gorilla conservation in most of the range countries, were heavily engaged in the negotiation process and final text.

WWF is now helping specify specific steps each government can take to ensure gorillas have a secure future in the wild — through direct conservation action in a way that also benefits local communities.

Priority species

As great apes, gorillas are a WWF priority species. WWF treats priority species as one of the most ecologically, economically and/or culturally important species on our planet. As such, we are working to ensure all great apes can live and thrive in their natural habitats.
 / ©: Bruno Hugel
WWF staff member passing out an energy efficient stove in Eastern DRC. These stoves use less fuel so people rely less on wood from Virunga National Park.
© Bruno Hugel
WWF staff member passing out an energy efficient stove in Eastern DRC. These stoves use less fuel so people rely less on wood from Virunga National Park.

The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP)

GRASP is a project of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that seeks to ensure the survival of the world's great ape species including all four gorilla species. 

WWF is an active partner in GRASP along with other NGOs, gorilla range states, international conventions, scientists, zoos, charitable donors and commercial interests in a sustained campaign to protect not only the great apes, but also the ecosystems of which they are part.

How you can help

  • Visit the gorillas! Money earned through gorilla tourism contributes significantly to the conservation of the species – providing funds for  conservation projects and creating jobs and bringing other benefits to local communities living near gorillas. To visit the gorillas of Dzanga-Sangha in Central African Republic, contact: info@dzanga-sangha.org.
     
  • Give a gift! Buy a "Gorilla's Paradise" WWF gift and help support the Gamba Complex of protected areas in Gabon – home to western lowland gorillas as well as hippos, elephants and much more.

  • Buy sustainable wood. By purchasing FSC-certified forest products, consumers, retailers, traders, and manufacturers help protect gorilla habitat by encouraging sustainable forestry and limiting illegal logging. Without the FSC label, your timber may well stem from illegal or controversial sources in central Africa.
     
  • Donate to WWF to help support our great ape conservation work.
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    • Spread the word! Click on the button to share this information with others via email or your favourite social networking service.

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