Sir David Attenborough, longtime nature broadcaster and wildlife expert, is asking fans to help save African mountain gorillas.
On Wednesday, Attenborough launched his first crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com. His goal is to raise $160,000 in support of Fauna & Flora International’s efforts to protect the gorillas from poaching and habitat loss.
The mission statement reads, “If we are to ensure the survival of mountain gorillas, it is vital that the global community supports our efforts.”
Attenborough explains why he is so passionate about saving the animals on the campaign’s homepage:
“I first went to film mountain gorillas in Rwanda in 1978 for the BBC’s “Life on Earth” television series. Spending time with these gentle creatures in their natural habitat was a profoundly moving experience. It was abundantly clear, however, that a lethal cocktail of threats including poaching, human encroachment and habitat loss was driving these magnificent, gentle creatures to the very brink of extinction.
I was so deeply concerned by the plight of the mountain gorillas that I came to Fauna & Flora International (FFI) for urgent discussions about how we could prevent them from disappearing forever. With only around 250 mountain gorillas remaining in the Virungas Massif at this time, we knew we had to move fast.
FFI brought together a group of conservation partners who, alongside the communities that live closest to the gorillas, have worked tirelessly to protect them and the forests they inhabit ever since.
Thanks to this collaborative approach their population is steadily rising and today there are around 880 mountain gorillas in the wild. But these extraordinary animals are still Critically Endangered and there is much left to do if we are to ensure their long-term survival.
By supporting this campaign and promoting it through your networks, you will not only be helping to secure a future for mountain gorillas, but also the tens of thousands of Rwandan, Ugandan and Congolese people who have come to depend upon them for their livelihoods and well-being.”
All money raised will go toward paying for rangers to secure the habitats, drinking tanks for the animals and breeding programs.
So far, over $4,500 has been raised. The campaign runs through Dec. 11, 2013.