Quotes from experts:

Dr. Emma Stokes, Director of the Mbeli Bai Gorilla Study in Congo said, “In the short term providing adequate and sustainable funding for enforcing existing wildlife protection laws is fundamental. Everything else hinges on the success of this.”

Daniel Idiata from the Gabonese Wildlife Department, who has spent most of the last 5 years in the forests of Gabon updating information on the abundance of large mammals, said, “I have surveyed all over my home country, but the only places where gorillas remain in any number are in the few protected areas. Outside of these protected forests they are increasingly rare. To protect gorillas it is urgent that the international community participates much more in our efforts to conserve those that remain for the next generation.”

Dr. Liz Rogers said, “As a society we have to decide if we are prepared to contribute towards the protection of gorillas. If they become extinct within the next 50 years it will have been nobody`s fault but our own. Unless we recognise gorilla conservation as a priority they will be lost. It`s as simple as that.”

Richard Parnell, a gorilla expert with 12 years of experience said “Most of the people gathered here are scientists, yet I doubt if theres a single person who would not admit to having had their life changed somehow by meeting a gorilla face to face. It’s something to do with the enormous power of the animal combined with such restraint, and of course the hypnotic power of those eyes in which we see so much of ourselves reflected. This meeting has been about sharing what we know of western gorillas, but far more about recognising and acting upon our responsibility to towards them. What’s immediately needed, if we are to halt the decimation of the western gorilla, is nothing short of a massive global response. Helping to mobilise this must be our first priority.”

Jacqui Groves who studies the Cross River Gorilla in northern Cameroon said, “These critically endangered populations are so fragmented and vulnerable that without immediate conservation initiatives they will be lost forever.”

Dr. Kate Abernethy said, “It is shocking that in this day and age, we still seem unable to protect such an important species.”

Dr. Peter Walsh, a survey and monitoring specialist, said: “Increased investment in law enforcement is absolutely essential. Right now we are spending most of the money on the icing and very little on the cake.” “Ecological monitoring will provide sufficient precision to detect future population trends in western gorillas and other large forest mamals for an investment of about $500,000 a year.”

Dr. Martha Robbins said: “Despite civil unrest in mountain gorilla habitat, intensive conservation efforts have successfully stopped population decline.”

Dr. Tomo Nishihara, a conservationist who has worked in Central Africa for 13 years said, “The African forest is so far from Japan that we often think these issues have nothing to do with us. But in many ways, including the large-scale importation of tropical hardwoods from Africa, we are indirectly influencing the fate of gorillas. Japanese people must recognise that they are part of the threat faced by gorillas and other wildlife and take a role in finding a solution. Otherwise, the forest, this jewel on our planet, may soon be empty of gorillas.”

Dr Yuji Takenoshita of Kyoto University who also studies gorillas in central Africa said, “In Japan, many of us have fallen for “Momotaro”, the baby gorilla born recently. All the gorillas in Japan are western lowland gorillas from central Africa, and right now, they are under enormous pressure. If we care about Momotaro, then we should also care about his distant cousins in Africa. We can make a difference and help to stop the illegal hunting that is killing the gorillas, but only if we act now.”