In line with The Gorilla Foundation’s redoubled effort to support the compassionate conservation of great apes in their homelands, we have asked Dr. Denis Ndeloh-Etiendem to serve as our Director of Great Ape Field Research. He has accepted! We are honored that Dr. Ndeloh-Etiendem will represent us in Africa, and beyond.
Many of you will recognize Denis as a recipient of our Wildlife Protector’s Award (see Conservation Blog: http://www.koko.org/cross-river-gorillas-—-denis-ndeloh-works-save-them) ) that enabled pilot research leading to the ground-breaking study of human and great ape ecology that earned him a PhD last year. We’ll be posting a description of Denis’s research, along with copies of a few of his published articles, in the months ahead. Or if you’re in a hurry, you can Google “Ndeloh-Etiendem” and find dozens of articles and stories about Denis’s remarkable discoveries and achievements.
What impressed me about Denis when I met him in 2007 was his compassion for the people and wildlife of his native home in Cameroon. We sat in my living room in Palos Verdes and talked about the wonders of growing up in a rich natural ecosystem where village people and great apes had lived in harmony. He described his brilliant studies of the positive impact of traditional wisdom on conservation practices in four villages located within the habitat of the world’s most endangered apes, Cross River Gorillas (see our Conservation Blog, Sep. 14, 2011).
I told Denis how the stories of Koko’s Kitten and Michael’s Dream had similar compassion-inducing impact on local people’s conservation values in other great ape habitat areas. Within a few months Denis Ndeloh-Etiendem and our long-time conservation education partner, Penelope Fraser, the Director of UNAFAS, were in the bush sharing stories of “talking gorillas” with villagers in the Cross-Sanaga region where Denis grew up and became a conservation scientist.
On September 1st when Denis began his work with TGF we submitted the first of many grant proposals that will begin to integrate our compassionate conservation curricula with Dr. Ndeloh’s multidisciplinary field research protocols. We are convinced that great apes will be saved by holistic conservation programs that foster ecological and social biosynergy (http://biosynergy.org). Dr. Ndeloh will lead the way in developing best practices for comprehensive conservation.
But Denis is not satisfied to stand on his laurels. He is dedicated to supporting other Africans in pursuit of their dreams of a homeland secure for all cultures and all creatures. Last month (August 2014) at the International Primatological Society’s (IPS) 25th Congress, Denis chaired the first-ever meeting of the African Primate Society Working Group. He is now leading deliberations to formalize the group’s structure and organization with the goal of helping other African primatologists to present their research and conservation projects at future meetings of IPS and other scientific societies. <
The Gorilla Foundation is keen to keep pace with our new Director of Great Ape Field Research as he invents and undertakes projects for the benefit of all life.
Read Denis Ndeloh’s Bio.
Video narrated by Denis on the importance of saving great apes.
Blog by Anthony L. Rose, Ph.D. / TGF Director, Conservation Programs