剛果金剛猩猩復育成功 保育工作大受鼓舞 | 環境資訊中心

剛果金剛猩猩復育成功 保育工作大受鼓舞

2008年08月11日
摘譯自2008年8月5日ENS 蘇格蘭,愛丁堡報導;施宏燕編譯;莫聞審校

攝影:Thomas Breuer;照片提供:美國野生動物保育協會Wildlife Conservation Society美國野生動物保育協會(Wildlife Conservation Society,WCS)近日公佈一項在中非剛果共和國境內的研究資料,表示現有超過12萬5千隻瀕危的西部低地金剛猩猩(western lowland gorillas)隱居在偏遠的北邊森林裡。這份來自野生生物保育協會以及剛果科學家們針對這類受迫害金剛猩猩的考察檔案顯示,其他瀕危物種的復育也很有希望。

根據這項在愛丁堡的國際靈長類動物學協會會議上發表的最新數量統計,這種嚴重瀕危的金剛猩猩分布在兩座幅員相接共1萬8千平方英哩的森林裡。

野生生物保育協會董事長兼總執行長桑德森(Steven Sanderson)表示:「這項研究顯示剛果共和國北邊確實蘊含金剛猩猩的豐富血脈,我們真應該以此為激勵口號,告訴大家人類確實也有能力保護其他脆弱和瀕危的物種,無論是非洲的金剛猩猩、印度虎還是馬達加斯加的狐猴。」

這次金剛猩猩的復育,也要歸功於在剛果保護區、偏遠重要地區與蘊含豐沛食物的棲地裡所實施的長期保育管理奏功。

另外,野生動物保育協會在與該國政府合作近20年裡,也協助建立了Nouabalé-Ndoki國家公園,經營Lac Tele群落保留區(Lac Tele Community Reserve),並和保護區外合法伐木的公司合作,減少非法捕獵。

西部低地金剛猩猩的棲地橫跨中非7個國家,據科學家估計1980年代全世界的金剛猩猩少於10萬隻,但是因為捕獵和疾病,過去25年數量已經減半。這次12萬5千隻金剛猩猩的數量統計,是來自野生生物保育協會與剛果政府的密集田野工作。

這些研究專家在雨林和獨立的沼澤區裡搜尋金剛猩猩的蛛絲馬跡,像是每晚趁金剛猩猩群入眠後躲在樹葉和樹枝中細數牠們的結構組織。結果他們在Ntokou-Pikounda區與Ndoki-Likouala區裡分別發現7萬3千隻及5萬2千隻金剛猩猩,其中有6000隻是在以前從未發現過有金剛猩猩出沒的獨立沼澤區中找到的。

根據這些統計記錄,有一個茂密森林裡每平方公里就有8隻金剛猩猩零星分布,這是有史以來最高的密度。然而野生生物保育協會警告,剛果的金剛猩猩還有很多在現有的保護區外,雖然剛果政府已經承諾將在Ntokou-Pikounda region區裡建立新的國家公園來保育。

然而在中非其他地方,金剛猩猩仍受其他威脅,包括嗜食野肉的饕客、以及對人類同樣致命的伊波拉病毒。野生生物保育協會和合作夥伴們正共同對抗伊波拉病毒,並致力弭除商業獵捕,為非洲猿類守護這片最後的堡壘。

除西部低地金剛猩猩外、還有山地金剛猩猩(mountain gorillas)、東部低地金剛猩猩(eastern lowland gorillas)及跨河金剛猩猩(Cross River gorillas)共四個亞種。在世界自然保育聯盟(IUCN)的「瀕危物種紅皮書」中,除了山地金剛猩猩屬於瀕危,其餘所有亞種都被列為嚴重瀕危,但是現在只有野生生物保育協會針對這四個金剛猩猩亞種做保育工作。

野生動物保育協會在中非的保育工作由紐約布朗克斯動物園(Bronx Zoo)的剛果金剛猩猩森林區提供園區參觀費作為部分贊助,該部門自1999年起開放後共為中非保育工作募款超過850萬美金。

Newly Discovered Congo Gorillas Brighten Conservation Picture
EDINBURGH, Scotland, August 5, 2008 (ENS)

Unknown to the outside world, more than 125,000 endangered western lowland gorillas have sheltered in the remote northern forests of the Republic of Congo in Central Africa, the Wildlife Conservation Society revealed today. Documented by WCS and Congolese scientists, the discovery of these imperiled animals shows that there is hope for the conservation of other endangered species, scientists said.

The new census of these Critically Endangered gorillas was revealed at a press conference during the week-long International Primatological Society Congress in Edinburgh. The census found more than 125,000 western lowland gorillas living in two adjacent areas covering 18,000 square miles.

"These figures show that northern Republic of Congo contains the mother lode of gorillas," said Dr. Steven Sanderson, president and chief executive of the Wildlife Conservation Society. "This discovery should be a rallying cry for the world that we can protect other vulnerable and endangered species, whether they be gorillas in Africa, tigers in India, or lemurs in Madagascar," Sanderson told reporters.

Successful long-term conservation management of the country's protected areas is partly responsible for the survival of these gorillas, and the remoteness and inaccessibility of some of their key locations as well as a food-rich habitat contributed to their survival, WCS said.

WCS has worked with the government of Republic of Congo in the northern area of the country for nearly 20 years, helping establish the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park and manage the Lac Tele Community Reserve while working with logging companies outside of protected areas to reduce illegal hunting.

Western lowland gorillas inhabit parts of seven Central African nations. Estimates from the 1980s placed the entire world population of these gorillas at fewer than 100,000. Scientists had believed that over the past 25 years this number had been cut in half by hunting and disease.

The new census that documented the existence of an additional 125,000 gorillas was the result of intensive field work carried out by the Bronx Zoo-based WCS and the government of Republic of Congo.

Researchers combed rainforests and isolated swamps to count the sleeping nests gorillas construct each night from leaves and branches.

In the Ntokou-Pikounda region researchers found 73,000 gorillas, and another 52,000 were documented in the Ndoki-Likouala landscape - including a previously unknown population of nearly 6,000 animals living in an isolated swamp.

Population densities of eight gorillas per square kilometer were recorded in one particularly rich forest patch, which ranks among the highest gorilla densities ever recorded. WCS cautioned that many of the gorillas live outside of existing protected areas, though the government of Congo has committed to creating a new national park in the Ntokou-Pikounda region.

Across Central Africa, gorillas are threatened by hunting for bushmeat and the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, which kills apes as well as humans. WCS is working with partners to combat Ebola, eliminate commercial hunting, and secure this last stronghold for Africa's apes.

Western lowland gorillas are one of four gorilla subspecies, which include mountain gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas, and Cross River gorillas. All are classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, except eastern lowland gorillas, which are classed as Endangered.

The Wildlife Conservation Society is the only conservation group working to safeguard all four subspecies.
WCS's conservation work in Central Africa was funded in part from admission fees to the Bronx Zoo Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit, which has raised more than $8.5 million for conservation in Central Africa since it opened in 1999.

全文及圖片詳見:ENS