On this episode John Daniels talks about founding the Cross River Gorilla Project which seeks to protect the rainforest, its animals and the surrounding communities. John shares his first-hand experience of trekking in the highlands, and his experiences camping in the rainforest, home to the critically endangered Gorilla. He talks about the behaviours and character of the gorillas and chimpanzees and how the conservation drive is very viable, as although the gorilla numbers are small, they live a long time, so there is opportunity for them to flourish, if the conditions are right within their environment.
John gives his thoughts on the current humanitarian crisis in Cameroon, the challenges they are facing and how this impacts on conservation projects and makes their support of the rangers even more vital. His talks about successful UK home schooling project, The Gorilla Club and his ambitions for taking these education programs into the schools and villages of Cameroon.
John Daniels was the headteacher at a middle school near Newcastle, where he taught languages for many years, having gained his MA and PhD thesis on language acquisition at Durham University. After retiring he travelled out to Cameroon as a volunteer to work with the Environmental and Rural Development Foundation which seeks to protect the rainforest and its animals. On his return to the UK John decided to continue to support the foundation and its work, by setting up a UK committee, the Cross River Gorilla Project. John is also the chairman of the Tyne Wear Heritage Forum, and his local heritage group and is often called up as a speaker on the merits of immersion of languages at language conferences. He is a married with children and grandchildren and loves to walk with his dog in the countryside and along the deserted beaches of Northumbria.
The Cross River Gorilla Project is a UK based charity whose main aim is to help preserve the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla, particularly those in South West Cameroon which are in danger of becoming isolated and therefore are on the brink of being extinct with less than 300 remaining. Central to this is: the preservation of the gorilla’s habitat in the rainforest in the Lebialem Highlands, an especially rich area of biodiversity where many rare plants and animals are found; the creation of wildlife corridors and the creation of new reserves.
The CRGP aim to do this through supporting the existing conservation efforts in Cameroon and by working with Newcastle University and other groups to troubleshoot current conservation challenges facing this remote part of the world. They are also supporting the community and particular the local women. They were in the process of setting up a research centre for ecotourism, the first women’s centre for the area and a fundraising program to provide education to as many children in the area as possible. However South West Cameroon and particularly the area near where the gorillas live, has been devastated by a huge humanitarian crisis with villages burnt down and thousands of displaced persons fleeing into towns and into the forest, putting even more strain on the gorillas and their habitat.
Their partner organisation in Cameroon, ERuDeF are helping the suffering communities and they are also supporting the international medical organisation Médecins sans Frontiers who are carrying out life-saving medical work to those affected by the crisis.
First discovered in 1900 the Cross River Gorilla were thought to be extinct until being re discovered in 1960.
On this episode John, talks about why he founded the Cross River Gorilla Project and shares his first-hand experience of trekking in the highlands, and his experiences camping in the rainforest, home to the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla. He talks about the behaviours and character of the gorillas and chimpanzees and how their conservation drive is very viable, as although the gorilla numbers are small, they live a long time, so there is opportunity for them to flourish, if the conditions are right within their environment.
John gives his thoughts on the current humanitarian crisis in Cameroon, the challenges they are facing and how this impacts on conservation projects but at the same time makes their support for the rangers even more vital. His talks about successful UK home schooling project, The Gorilla Club and his ambitions for taking these education programs into the schools and villages of Cameroon.
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Huge thanks to Salome Jewellery for their support of this episode. Salome produce beautiful handmade jewellery, inspired by the ‘power of natural gemstones'. As Ambassadors to The Cross River Gorilla Project (CRGP), SALOME supports the charity’s efforts to save the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla and 10% of all sales from their LEBIALEM HIGHLAND collection will be donated to the CRGP in support of their conservation efforts. Inspired by the natural beauty of the Cameroonian Rainforest, it features Rainforest Jasper & Moonstone which are a stunning combination and provide both balance and a deeper connection to nature. Find Salome on https://salomedesigns.co.uk
and on Instagram @salome_designs