Why is GAFI needed?

Without rapid and innovative intervention, wild populations of great apes will become extinct. It is predicted that unless steps are taken to conserve critical great ape habitat, wild populations of these species will be lost forever.

Habitat loss, unsustainable hunting, intensification of agro-industries, civil war, climate change, disease and the trade in exotic species has resulted in increasing pressure on critical great ape ecosystems. These pressures are not only devastating to rare and endangered species found in these regions, but more importantly, are affecting the goods and services generated by intact ecosystems- many of which are critical to life on earth. Although the loss of biodiversity is a global problem, some regions have a disproportionate amount of vital biodiversity that is fundamental to the livelihoods of people living in and around these regions. All the surviving great ape populations are found within these regions.

Click here for a map of the worlds hotspots

Finding sustainable solutions to the decline is not easy and in order for conservation efforts to succeed, challenges need to be tackled step by step on an individual and community level. Regardless of international pressures and new laws passed, unless efforts are targeted to engage the local human populations, they will be doomed to fail and careful development is needed to ensure sustainable and improved livelihoods without loss of biodiversity. If we are to succeed, we need to integrate the principles, values, and practices of conservation of biodiversity and sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning in an innovative and interactive manner that accessible to all.

Films create a unique platform for dialogue between all the different stakeholders involved in the battle to save Africa’s biodiversity that is increasingly under threat. From hunters to government wildlife officials, local people are given a chance to express their views and offer solutions which can be shared at the local and national level. This unique method of mass communication is precisely what is required to raise awareness and instigate change among people across the country before it’s too late.

Television viewers in the developed world are used to seeing new and fascinating discoveries about animal behaviour and ecology, and so place a high value on the survival of natural ecosystems, even if they don’t have any direct contact with them. Television viewers in developing countries seldom see such documentaries, and so are ill-informed about the value of their country’s wildlife and wilderness areas, or how important the rest of the world considers this issue.