It is threatened by hunting and habitat loss and by ebola virus epidemics which can wipe out entire populations. Run by the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, the Loango Gorilla Project is one of very few long-term studies into the ecology of these animals, and has succeeded in habituating one group for tourist viewing.
The study of the habituated group continues to provide valuable information about the behavior and ecology of these elusive animals. At the same time, the rest of the population is studied using camera traps and genetic analysis of fecal samples, gathering important data about habitat use and movement patterns. The project employs around 30 local pygmies, providing them with a crucial opportunity for regular employment which uses their traditional skills. The presence of the research project, and the tourist visits, also reduces the levels of illegal activities within the National Park.
Tusk has supported the project since 2015, funding basic running costs from food and salaries to travel expenses, research equipment and medical supplies
The Loanga Gorilla Project provides vital information about these highly vulnerable but under-researched great apes. It needs ongoing support to better understand and protect them.