Immediate improvements in law enforcement could dramatically reduce the impact of the commercial trade in bushmeat on western gorillas. The hunting of western gorillas is already illegal in all range states, but in many places these laws are not being enforced. Anti-poaching has proven to be the single most effective means of protecting apes in western equatorial Africa. It is the foundation upon which all other ape conservation activities rest. It needs increased and, just as important, sustained
National Parks do not provide protection from Ebola however. A better understanding of the spatial and temporal spread of the disease between and within species may allow development of a pro-active campaign to protect at-risk ape and human populations through vaccination and other potential control measures.
In the longer term, activities such as environmental education are essential for the conservation of the western gorilla.
The implementation of a conservation strategy to protect the western gorilla requires partnerships and collaborations between all the stakeholders in the Congo Basin.
The strategy is based on increased law enforcement, well-funded networks of protected areas and improved wildlife management in logging concessions, and so incorporates a range of different interest groups. These include the government, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, local communities and international donors. With so many different interests at stake, effective collaboration depends on building relationships of genuine collaboration and openness.