Gorilla Populations Need More Human Interference
CONVENTIONAL WISDOM: It’s best for gorillas if they have little to do with humans.
CONTRARY VIEW: Tracking great apes for eco-tourism purposes can protect the species.
For years, scientists have attached tracking devices to a variety of animals, but they have mostly steered clear of tagging great apes. In recent years, conservationists have worried that habituating gorillas, specifically, to humans is unwise since we are among the greatest threats to the species’ survival.
But last year, primatologist Peter Walsh of the University of Cambridge began a new approach to gorilla welfare: He placed a black plastic belt featuring a VHF transmitter around the ankle of Kelle, a 16-year-old male gorilla. Kelle, who lives in a cage in the Congo, will eventually be “reintroduced” to the wild.
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