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Born Free USA Global Field Projects

Born Free USA Helps Feed the Gorillas!

Published 07/19/12

Aframomun, a plant gorillas feast on.
More Limbe Wildlife Center project images

Recently Born Free USA provided a grant of more than $4,500 for the Limbe Wildlife Center (LWC) in Cameroon. The money will be used to provide important food supplies for the rescued orphan gorillas at the sanctuary. LWC has provided this report on how the funds will be used:

"The Limbe Wildlife Center has 15 western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and one cross river gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli). Nutrition is our primary concern as gorillas need a carefully studied and balanced diet consisting of green leaf vegetables, fruits and vegetable proteins.

"Several species from the genus Aframomum sp (Zingiberaceae) are major food plants for gorillas throughout the lowland rainforests and mountain areas. This is a green leaf vegetable whose stem is known to have antiparasitic, antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties and helps maintain the gastrointestinal equilibrium. This is one of the most preferred plants by wild gorillas and we feed this browse to our gorillas every day.

"We hire former hunters — now retired from hunting! — to harvest this wild plant legally from the forest. In this way, we provide employment and a reasonable income for their families.

"Aframomun is a plant that grows naturally in the secondary bush and does not need to be planted, so there is no need to clear forest for farms. During harvesting, the farmers cut the plants sustainably — that is, they cleanly cut with a sharp knife approximately two feet of the stalk above the rhizome allowing regeneration of the stem, which in a few months is mature for harvesting again.

"The rhizome is essentially the underground portion of the plant from which the vegetative aboveground shoots emerge. Currently it is being harvested in the area of Isongo where the Cameroon Development Corp. cleared a piece of forest for a plantation some years ago but only used half of it — we are harvesting the other half that was unused by the CDC.

"The funds kindly provided by Born Free USA will cover almost the entire costs of harvesting the Aframomun for the gorillas for the whole year."

Read other updates about our Limbe Wildlife Center project.

See the Limbe Wildlife Center project's photo gallery.

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