Friday, December 18, 2009

Goodbye, Gorillas

ItalicThe already threatened gorillas of Africa are likely to be wiped out by even the two degree Celsius temperature rise set in Copenhagen today as one of the goals of the world community.

Dr. Amanda Kortjens, of Bournemouth University in the UK, and her colleagues based their conclusions on studies of the need for gorillas and other leaf-eating primates to have enough time to forage, socialize, and rest. Gorillas are forced to rest when temperatures get too high, which reduces the time available for them to find food and maintain social ties.

Coupled with the intense threats gorillas already face from habitat loss and hunting as "bush meat", even this seemingly modest rise in temperature will put them at risk of extinction.

This piece of research, which will appear in Animal Behaviour, December, 2009, serves as yet one more example of how seemingly innocuous or supposedly acceptable levels of global warming can have unacceptable, even non-survivable, effects on certain populations or in certain regions.

Robert Adler
for the institute