Conservation Blog

So Few Gorillas, So Little Time

Tony Gives a Friend a Lift (image by Karl Ammann)
Date Added: March 31, 2003
Dr. Tony Rose is currently working on a new book,Consuming Life, co-authored with Karl Ammann, the world renowned wildlife photographer who first exposed the bushmeat crisis to the world pictorially. This month we feature some excerpts from an essay he recently wrote entitled So Few Gorillas, So Little Time. The entire essay will appear in the new issue of our bi-annual Gorilla Journal, to be sent to all Gorilla Foundation members this Spring. (To become a member, please visit:

In this essay, Tony tries to answer such questions as: "How can we protect wildlife and nature, when people are dying?":

"The truth is - we can only help apes and people together. Apes are emblematic of the African people's natural and cultural heritage. They stand for the rain forest - the Eden from which we humans evolved. They are our sacred ancestors, holding our hominoid place in the prime creation. If we destroy the apes in the wilderness, then the foundation of our humanity crumbles. By saving gorillas, we save ourselves."

Tony also recounts some of the successes he’s had introducing Gorilla Foundation educational materials such as the book Koko’s Kitten to gorilla poachers in Africa:

"My friend Joseph Melloh used to hunt gorillas and chimpanzees. During the past seven years, since we first met, Joseph has been working to save the apes. Some say he does it for the money. But I know it is more than that. Joseph's greatest joy comes in the forest when he is tracking gorillas. That is what he is doing now, and his letters display his deep satisfaction. . . . We need to create thousands of Joseph's."

"The people of Ekona Lelu village in the west have begun to tell the story of Michael, the gorilla who remembered his mother’s murder in the forest, as a legend. The chiefs of five villages around Mefou National Park where the Michael Gorilla Sanctuary stands are looking for ways to make the gorillas in their midst a source of sustenance. The young men who Joseph taught to track and protect wild gorillas in the wilderness beside the Dja River still want tourists to come to their forest to share their experience."

Wild Gorilla
Wild Gorilla (image by Karl Ammann)
At the end of his essay, Tony makes the following call to action, which we echo:

"We try in our small way to rebuild the reverence for nature and the stability of community simultaneously, as a synergistic process. Wildlife Protectors Fund is devoted to fostering the harmony of people and apes in Africa's remaining wild places. But we are losing the battle - more and more apes are being killed. We need to step up our activities. Perhaps some of you reading this will help. If so, don’t wait - contact me now. There are so few gorillas left, and so little time remains to save them."

To help Tony save gorillas in the wild—through the Gorilla Foundation’s Wildlife Protectors Fund —you can:
  1. Email Dr. Anthony Rose at:
  2. Make a donation to WPF at:

Thank you!

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