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August 05, 2008

Gorillas that were missed: 125,000 endangered apes discovered in the Congo

Rejoice friends: Primatologists have discovered a massive number of endangered lowland gorillas in the Congo!


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That is a fucking awful headline pun. Well done.

I expect that both you and the original writer meant 125,000 apes belonging to an endangered species. Is there any word on whether these ones, as members of this group, are endangered? That is, can we hope that these ones may be less at risk from hunting, habitat destruction, etc?

Jeez, I may not have caught the pun. A wonderful story--but beware, this hard to get to sanctuary could soon be in trouble because of logging, which may soon happen in these areas for the first time.

The publicity here may help the gorillas, as the govt may now consider turning the area into a nature preserve / national park. The gorillas won't remain isolated, which sucks.

But better to be photographed by tourists than to have the entire habitat clear-cut. And the locals would have the foundation for a long term industry, which is better than a one time effort to rip the trees out of there and a ruined ecosystem going forward.

I wondered where former Governor Jeb Bush put all those disenfranchised Florida voters.

How long before conservatives pick up on this and say that, like oil, there will always be more animals to be discovered? That somewhere out there are hidden reserves of veloceraptors and dodos...

Good news, but it means that lowland gorillas have been granted a little time and are nowhere near safe. The total population of lowland gorillas is estimated to be less than a quarter million, most of which is distributed in little pockets of unconnected and dwindling forest beset by loggers and bushmeat hunters on all sides. If the total human population were of the same size distributed on small islands that were being covered by rising water with no possibility of escape or moving from one island to another we'd rightly call the situation desperate.

The insatiable demand for wood and paper worldwide is a big part of the problem here, Indonesia, everywhere else. . If a dent could be made in this demand , in the West and in tree-poor China, that would help. But have no idea in the world as to how this could even be done.

I agree, great headline. Phantom: Think a movie with Signourney Weaver and some gorillas....

One man's shoot from the hip reaction to lowering the demand for wood and paper (more of a rant than info, really): In every office in just about every corporation, for-profit or not-, we are addicted to paper. Somebody changes jobs, and they get boxes and boxes of new stationery. Somebody wants to review a document, and they print it out and mark it up with a pen. Then make the changes on screen and print it out to review it again. (I have colleagues who will do this with a 200-page document -- two, three, twelve, fourteen times.)


Take some anger management classes


Unfortunately, printing out long documents is often necessary- its really hard to read long docs on the computer, and paper is the best way to read it if you are on a plane or the subway, etc.

An awful lot of the trees are cleared so that wood can be used to cook food. There's gotta be a better way, even in the third world.

Phantom: I have! You should have known me before! :-)

There HAS to be a better way. Where's Scotty when you need him.

I had two nearly simultaneous thoughts: First, great! They found 125K gorillas! Second, I wonder if they were better off before any humans knew they were there. (Or at least researchers...)

I thought of that too. But in the world we live in, its way better that their existence is known now, and that it is publicized. Because (I heard on NPR) that the govt was about to sign leases for timber companies for those lands. Now they may not do so.

Fortunately, there are plenty of sources of wood for paper that don't entail destroying old-growth forests.

Was in a Staples store yesterday, where they had plenty of notebooks of paper made from sugar cane. I'd never heard of this

plenty of notebooks of paper made from sugar cane

How sweet! And naïve! As Bertolt Brecht used to say: “Human history is a story of chicanery and corruption.” Not to be cynical, but there is no reason to doubt that this discovery will be poached and plundered someday. There is no reason to expect a moral improvement within our own species at any time in the foreseeable future.

Well, people need paper and I look with approval on this "new" technology, which is probably not new at all

"paper made from sugar cane"

Sugar cane waste -bagasse- has been used as fuel since God knows when. Recently they've been making fiberboard as well as paper with it. Though remember, it's not all win-win: a sugar cane field is an ecological desert, as biodiverse as a parking lot. Every acre of sugarcane field is an acre lost to wildlife. We're screwed both coming and going.

I did not realize that, but apparently you are correct

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