An essential part of our mission is promoting great apes conservation through outreach programs for the local community. We’ve conducted great ape education campaigns in primary schools around the Fernan-Vaz lagoon since 2008.
Great apes help to regenerate the forest resources that residents rely on. Highlighting the interdependence between people and wildlife, and their mutual dependence on a healthy forest ecosystem, can give students and residents a new perspective on great ape conservation that they can relate to. Our education illustrates both how local communities can contribute to forest conservation and the protection of great apes, and why this is important for people as well as apes. We hope that by raising awareness of the value of great ape conservation early in their lives, children can change their attitudes which may lead to a change in behavior.
The 2012 Great Ape Education Program
In 2012, approximately 515 primary students from 7 villages participated in the PGFV great ape education program. The overall goal of the program was to teach students about the importance of great ape conservation and the protection of their habitat through discussions, interactive activities and role-playing. Our specific objectives were to help students:
- become aware of the great apes that live in Gabon
- understand the role that great apes play in the tropical forest
- learn the threats to great apes and why they need to be protected
- understand the importance of the tropical forest and its protection
- learn what actions that can be taken to help protect great apes and the tropical forest