January 9, 2009
I want to thank you for the gift of $35 you gave on my gorillacd.org blog at http://lisah.gorillacd.org/. It means a lot to know that I have your support as I go forward with my passion to help save this critically endangered species.
gorillacd.org is a work in progress and all of us that are working hard with this organization are trying to make it the very best that it can be. I just found out that this gift was from you today. I’m hoping very soon that our site will allow me to see the donations right as they come in.
You may by now, know that the Virunga National Park Rangers are back to work monitoring the gorillas, after 15 long months without being able to go into the gorilla sector due to rebel forces occupying the Park. Lots of exciting things have been happening and Rangers like Innocent Mburanumwe and Diddy Mwanaki share it all at http://lisah.gorillacd.org/ often. Recently, I wrote about one of my favorite gorillas Bonane, who the Ranger’s originally thought was a male, until they saw her with a new baby. That was a surprise to all of us…..but I’m thrilled.
All of us at gorillacd.org are looking towards 2009 with hope and excitement that the year will bring many wonderful things.
Happy New Year to you and your family, Jeanine. And thank you again for the wonderful gift. Hope to see you soon.
Ben Affleck and British rock legend Sir Mick Jagger launched a short film for UNHCRs new Gimme Shelter campaign to help raise funds and awareness about the crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
This is such welcome news. Over the past year, I have read about so many atrocities and crimes against humanity in eastern DRC. Some of the images in this short film send shivers down my spine. To see little babies handed up into the arms of people fleeing on UNHCR trucks. Clearly desperate to leave whatever situation they are in. Maybe even being handed up to perfect strangers. I can’t help but think, how many of those small children got seperated from their parents?
Following is the complete article as written on the UNHCR website:
The UN Refugee Agency, with the help of American actor-director Ben Affleck and British rock legend Sir Mick Jagger, launched a major new campaign to raise $23 million to help tens of thousands of displaced Congolese civilians.
At the center of the campaign is the “Gimme Shelter” video directed by Affleck and filmed by John Toll, both Academy Award winners. The short film, released at a ceremony in New York on Wednesday, is set to the classic Rolling Stones song, Gimme Shelter, which Jagger and the group donated to the campaign.
The footage was shot last month in Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) strife-torn North Kivu province, where some 250,000 civilians have fled for their lives since fighting resumed in August between government forces and rebel troops.
“We made this film in order to focus attention on the humanitarian crisis in the DRC at a time when too much of the world is indifferent or looking the other way,” said Affleck. “The suffering and loss we’ve all seen first-hand is staggering – it is beyond belief.”
“Gimme Shelter” captures the suffering of internally displaced Congolese families who fled the fighting with next to nothing and are now forced to find refuge in makeshift shelters with little to live on. Some 30,000 others have fled to neighboring Uganda and are receiving help from UNHCR.
There are currently 1.3 million displaced people in the DRC, many of them earlier victims caught up in a continuing cycle of violence. The effects of the conflict have claimed as many as 5.4 million lives in the last 10 years, with an estimated 1,000 people still dying every day.
In some areas, two out of three women have been raped. Abductions persist and children are forcefully recruited to fight. Outbreaks of cholera and other diseases have increased as the humanitarian situation deteriorates.
The “Gimme Shelter” campaign hopes to raise US$23 million in 2009 to pay for clean water supplies and for emergency humanitarian assistance kits that contain jerry cans, kitchen sets, thermal blankets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and plastic sheeting needed for construction of shelters.
Join the campaign at www.unhcrshelter.org
The Affleck film will be distributed worldwide via the internet, television, mobile phones, cinemas and hotel chains to raise awareness of UNHCR’s global work for refugees and to encourage donations for displaced Congolese.
Jagger described the human suffering in the DRC as appalling and expressed strong support for Affleck’s awareness-raising efforts. “The Rolling Stones are very happy to contribute ‘Gimme Shelter’ in support of Ben’s efforts to raise the profile of the conflict in the Congo,” Jagger said. “I hope this video will help.”
Affleck, who has made four visits to central Africa since 2007, urged more public awareness of this and other conflicts in which millions of people have been forced from their homes.
“I’m urging people not to look the other way, not to turn off their TV when news of the violence in the DRC comes on. We all need to stand up and support the work of organizations like UNHCR who are on the ground offering protection and working hard to ensure the rights and well-being of refugees,” he said.
Lots of exciting things have been happening in the Gorilla Sector of Virunga National Park lately. The Rangers are back to their very important work of patroling and monitoring the gorillas after 15 long months of fighting within the Park.
The Rangers are in the process of conducting a census of the habituated gorilla families, which consists of counting everything from new births to migrations between the families. It was during one of the patrols that the Rangers came upon one of my favorite gorillas, Bonane. We all thought Bonane was a male, but on this patrol Bonane was spotted with a baby. Bonane, it turns out, is a female.
Bonane is the gorilla I feature with the title of my blog. http://savingmountaingorillas.blogspot.com/ That picture of her just captures me. Her eyes are so beautiful and enchanting. Her face seems so soft and warm, somehow. She’s a gorgeous gorilla and I so guess it’s only fittng that she is a female. In one of my earlier posts, I expressed concern for the gorillas safety due to the heavy conflict within the gorilla sector. I wondered if Bonane would ever live to be a silverback in charge of his own family. Well, thanks to the Rangers and the fact that they share everything with us, I now know the answer to that question, don’t I! Bonane will never be a silverback in charge of his own group, but she will be a beautiful mother and hopefully raise lots of babies and live a long healthy life.
One of the concerns I have is who the father of Bonane’s baby is. When the fighting broke out 15 months ago, Bonane was a member of the Kabirizi family. When the Rangers spotted her with her baby she had migrated to the Humba family. Is Humba the father of Bonane’s baby? On one of Dr. Lucy Spellman’s more recent posts on Gorilla Doctors http://gorilladoctors.wildlifedirect.org… she states the following: “Since I’ve worked here, infanticide has been the outcome every time an infant sired by a male in another group has been born to a newly transferred female.” It will be close to impossible to know who the father of Bonane’s baby is, due to the fact that the Rangers have not been with the gorillas for 15 months. They don’t know when Bonane migrated. I guess a big clue will be how Humba treats Bonane’s infant. Humba is known to be the mellowst silverback in the habituated groups. There’s just no telling. This picture of Bonane with the cut on her arm was taken recently. She sustained this cut getting in the middle of an altercation between the silverbacks Humba and Kabirizi. Hopefully, her baby made it through the altercation okay.
I am the mother of two very spirited boys. Nathan is 7 and Tristan is 10. I have been married to my husband, Sean for 13 years. I love animals and nature and I have been in love with Africa and its wildlife since I was a child.