The communities living alongside Mount Tshiaberimu will benefit from new fruit trees
Hi, this is Jean-Claude,
The Gorilla Organization recently helped distribute passion fruit seedlings to villages surrounding Mount Tshiaberimu.
In total, 200 stems of seedlings were distributed among five different community associations. The fruit they will produce will provide an excellent source of nutrition for people living in this part of DR Congo. And, by turning the ripe fruit into juice to sell, these communities will also be able to benefit from a new source of valuable income.
What’s more, as with many of the other projects we run on the edges of the Virunga National Park, this will help to ease the pressure placed on the natural resources found inside the gorillas forest home.
In the picture above you can see a healthy, full-grown fruit tree in nearby Burusi. Let’s hope the trees planted on Mount T grow to be equally impressive!
The team at the new radio station will help raise awareness of gorilla conservation
Hi, this is Jean-Claude,
From tomorrow (July 1st), the communities on and around Mount Tshaberimu will finally be able to listen to their own local radio station.
Over the course of 2010, several NGOs, including MISSAF Kyondo and the Gorilla Organization held talks with the district governor, the Honorable Kasereka Wanzavelere, regarding the possibility of launching a not-for-profit station to serve this part of the eastern DRC.
Now, I am delighted to report that, with the funding for this project having been secured, the first proper broadcasts are set to begin. Thanks to the help of our resident radio technician Marcassin Muhindo, we’re ready to take to the airways tomorrow.
This is great news for the communities of the Mount Tshaberimu region, and it’s also excellent news for the endangered mountain gorillas living here. As our work with Radio Cosmos on the edge of the Virunga National Park has shown, educating people about the plight of gorillas is a great way of getting communities involved in conservation efforts.
As you can see in the above picture, the team at the new radio station are raring to get started. I’ll be sure to keep you up to date with news about the radio station and how it’s helping us with our valuable work here at Mount Tshiaberimu.
Hi, this is Odilon,
Women, and mothers in particular, play a key role in helping communities around Mount Tshiaberimu thrive. And nothing illustrates their importance quite like Sagot, or Solidarity of Friends of Mountain Gorillas Tshiaberimu.
Founded in 2005, this is a network of several grassroots development associations, among them Integration of Women in Development (IFED) and the Association of Legionnaires’ Mothers for Development.
Sagot works to establish and support small-scale community initiatives, such as setting up nurseries where vegetables and fruit trees can be grown, teaching women the importance of sustainable agriculture and educating children how to respect the forests, home of the endangered mountain gorillas.
To mark International Women’s Day 2011, we helped to organise the annual Mukokya Parade – named after one of the mountain gorillas living here at Mount Tshiaberimu – with dozens of mothers dressing up and taking part in a march from the Gorilla Organization’s resource centre.
Here are some photos from this year’s Mukokya Parade. Check out the colourful Gorilla Organization uniforms some of the ladies are wearing!
Ladies supporting gorillas on the annual Mukokya Parade
Dozens of women from communities around Mt Tshiaberimu marched this year
Hi, this is Jean Claude,
Over the past few weeks, Mount Tshiaberimu really has been buzzing as scientists from around the world carry out exciting research into both the mountain gorillas and a wide range of other wildlife living in this part of DR Congo.
For example, an international team of researchers, including Dr Taranjit Kaur at Virginia Tech and Kathryn Williamson from the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, have been analysing fecal samples collected on Mt Tshiaberimu and looking for signs of possible malarial infections among the small gorilla population here. So far, none of the samples taken have shown such an infection to be present, though the team will carry on their research into the exact causes of the gorilla deaths seen here between 2008 and 2010.
My colleagues at Kinshasa University have also been focusing on how monkeys are contributing to the destruction of bamboo shoots in the forests on Mount Tshiaberimu as they continue to assess the both the genetics and the long-term viability of the remaining gorilla population here.
Meanwhile, since my last blog posting, Professor Eli B Greenbaum – from Harvard University – has been able to confirm that the two specimens from the tree frog Leptopelis he collected here are genetically distinct from all other tree frogs he has studied in sub-Saharan Africa. Once classified and formally recognised, this new species could help boost Mount Tshiaberimu’s status as a place of real ecological importance, which is good news for the critically-endangered mountain gorilla population!
Once again, I will be sure to keep you informed of any further developments.
Here I am (on the left) with my colleagues at a training session on habitat evaluation in the Luki Biosphere Reserve, around 450km from Kinshasa.
Hi this is Jean-Claude,
With the support of the Gorilla Organization and in collaboration with my colleagues and friends at Tshiaberimu, I’m now studying for a master’s degree at Kinshasa University. Why am I doing this? Well, as you all know, the gorillas of Tshiaberimu are under great threat. The number living here fell from 22 to 14 between 2008 and 2009 and for the whole of last year we were unable to maintain complete control of the forest due to the permanent presence of soldiers, who were poaching and even killing people.
Because of this, I have decided to investigate the viability of this small remaining group of gorillas and analyse how the habitat here can help push numbers up. Are they able to enjoy a good quality diet here, for example? Could infectious diseases affect the gorillas? Is it possible to introduce some females? With these questions in mind, I will be conducting a large amount of research, not just for my masters programme, but also for a possible PhD.
I’m very grateful to all of those who are supporting my studies in different ways. In Kinshasa, the Gorilla Organization’s liaison officer Sebu Mugangu has promised to help me with my IT and computer maintenance skills and to help organise local transportation.
Imelda, who is studying for a degree in psychology and who has been following with interest my work with gorillas and local communities has, said she will help by producing a special radio broadcast to raise awareness of the gorillas and help change local people’s attitude to them.
Also, Vital Katembo, who was the first project manager at Tshiaberimu and who is now the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) representative in the DRC, has said I can stay with him and his family in Kinshasa.
I will be sure to keep you all up to date with news of my studies. Thank you!
His this is Vhosi
Kakule Safari was murdered on January 8th, 2009 at Mulango wa Nyama Patrol Post(Mount Tshiabirimu) when his group was attacked by rebel militia. He was then buried on January 10th,2009 at their family graveyard in Musienene village. He left three orphaned children and a widow.
Safari had worked on the Gorilla Organization programme at Mount T for more than three years.
Recently at Mount Tshiabirimu people commemorated the one year anniversary of Safari’s murder.
A team of Mount T workers organised a meditative visit to Safari’s grave. Then a mass was said at Burusi by a priest from Kyondo Parish, and scores of people from villages surrounding Mount T attended. The mass was sung by a choir (called ‘Sacre Coeur de Jesus’) from Kyondo parish too.
The local Community Based Organisations and the MtT workers collected some money to pay for a party where all the park workers and local villagers could come together.
We also thought of Nicolas Vighanzire and prayed for his ghost’s rest. Nicolas was a WWF volunteer and was assassinated on May 20th, 2007 at Burusi Ptrol Post( MtT) from an assault by unknown armed people. I was there in that attack myself, and survived it although I was shot in the leg. But I saw Nicolas giving up the ghost. He left behind his pregnant wife who gave birth to a lonely boy six months later. They are both healthy.
Thus, we prayed both for the ghosts’ rest of Safari and Nicolas, and for the peace at MtT. We hope the best both for people and the gorillas as every cloud has a silver lining.
Emirembe oko Bandu n’oko Ngayi e’ Kyabirimu, n’oko bosi abakawatikaya e’Gorilla Organization
( Peace to MtT people and gorillas, and to all those who have been funding the GO field projects and to the HQ GO Team).
Hi This is Vhosi
Gorillas are not the only primates who live at Mount Tshiabirimu. Their monkey cousins live there too, but nobody knows very much about how many there are or where they actually live.
Starting last week a research team is involved in an expedition at Mount Tshiabirimu for a monkey survey. Researchers will be able to determine the monkeys’ abundance and their distribution in the gorillas’ habitat at Mount Tshiabirimu.
Some people have been saying that the monkeys are greedy and eat too much food, which risks creating hunger for the other primates. We think that after a year we will know more about how many monkeys there are in the gorilla habitat, what they eat and how they are distributed there.
Hi,This is Tuver
On behalf of Mount Tshiaberimu guards ,ICCN staff in this sector of Virunga national Park and Gorilla Organization Staff,i thank’s all off you for all donations we gate via wildlifedirect.
We are happy to continue our work and protecting this gorilla habitat whith your support.
Thank’s and we still need your help and more support.
The Gorilla Organization Communications Manager
Hi,This is Vhosi
Tsangyamuyi is a farmer from Burusi village close to Mount
Tshiaberimu in eastern Congo DR. She has benefited for over three years from the Gorilla Organization-funded programme which shows locals how to grow their own vegetables and trains them in sustainable and pig farming.
As a widow and a mother of five, courageous Tsangyamuyi has benefited from the Gorilla Organization’s livestock distribution scheme. She was given a pig which gave birth to eleven healthy piglets. Villagers now recognise her as a dedicated and experienced farmer within the Burusi village.
Not only does Tsangyamuyi have plans to buy iron roofing sheets to improve her home, but she can now pay for school education for all her five children, where as before she only could pay for two. Some of the pigs will be sold to buy seeds to grow more vegetables and she will use the remaining pigs’ manure to fertilize the crops, a farming technique she was taught as part of the programme.
Tsangyamuyi’s success is a clear testament to the large amount of work the Gorilla Organization has undertaken and the success they have achieved in maintaining the protection of the gorillas from human encroachment and to alleviate poverty in the local communities.
Hi,this is Vhosi
The war in DR Congo may be over, but the impact will be felt for generations. Years of turmoil have stretched things beyond their limits.
I have recently been spending time in Ngitse, a village close to Mount Tshiabirimu, where there is a high rate of widows and young unmarried women who have many children.
Many of the young women were raped or sexually abused by soldiers or militiamen, then they got pregnant and had children from unknown fathers. We have found out that, around Mount Tshiabirmu, over 500 young women were raped or were sexually abused as a result of the war. As a result, more than 1500 children were born. This information is from only three out of the eleven villages surrounding Mount Tshiabirimu, so the real figure is likely to be much higher. 96% of these young women are illiterate, while 82% of their children are not going to school. According to the local health centre the rate of those that tested HIV positive is five per cent (figures are from 2006).
In our research, 95% of the sexually abused young women are in charge of their mothers who are widows. I met one widow in Ngitse village called Irena who is caring for nine children, among them five orphans.
In this small area, little squares of farmland cover the steep slopes of the hills which provide living to thousands of local farmers. 30% of local people are landless and almost 80% of them are in land conflicts. Such situations may create conflicts between local people and the gorillas’ habitat forcing people to do things that will help them to survive for the present, even though they know they are creating problems for the future.
The impact of the war in DRC is still being felt here. The important thing is to remind the world of what happened, and to never let it occur again.