Leipzig Meeting 2002

Western-gorilla.org was conceived at a meeting held in May 2002 at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Although the meeting was initially intended as a forum for reporting new research results, it rapidly developed into discussion on how to deal with the rapid decline in western gorilla populations across their range.

The escalating commercial trade in bushmeat was highlighted as the main threat to western gorillas, and there was a very strong consensus that immediate action is necessary if viable populations of western gorillas are to survive into the next decade. In particular, the proportion of the conservation budget spent on law enforcement needs to be significantly increased. It was also agreed that the longer term priority should be turning paper parks into real parks, with the key issues in that effort being sustainable funding (e.g. Trust Funds) and building of national capacity to manage parks.

Hundreds of years of collective frontline experience lend both credibility and moral authority to our calls for a change in conservation strategy towards more investment in law enforcement.