Gorilla expert and Ape Alliance chairman Ian Redmond OBE has dedicated his life to gorillas. He began his career as a biologist working alongside the late primatologist Dr Dian Fossey, of ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ fame, and has twice shifted from research to conservation, first with gorillas, then with African elephants. He has since helped expose illegal poaching rings through dangerous undercover work, and continues battling poaching to this day.
“The most recent rescue I was involved with was just last year in DRCongo where, while posing a potential customer, I found a family in possession of a young bonobo being kept illegally as a playmate for their two little girls. With the help of theauthorities, we wereable to rescue the bonobo, called Mireille, and took her – accompanied by the family – to Lola ya Bonobo near Kinshasa, the only sanctuary for this beautiful but endangered endemic species. The family learned about the problems facing apes and now visit ‘Mireille’ and donate to the sanctuary.”
He is a consultant for many conservation charities, such as the Born Free Foundation, the Gorilla Organization, the Orangutan Foundation, etc. and was awarded an OBE for his services to conservation in 2006. He is extremely passionate about animal conservation, and you can see his video footage and hear him speak about why gorilla conservation is so crucial by clicking here.
Through the Ape Alliance and a coalition of nearly 100 organisations and tour companies, Ian encourages volunteer programmes and leads ecotourism treks to observe endangered animals in the wild. He is also the ambassador for vEcotourism – a virtual ecotourism site that gives people the opportunity to explore remote parts of the world without leaving the house.
Each virtual tour consists of one or more interactive 360o panoramas that a viewer can get lost in, with embedded video footage of incredible animals and interviews with scientists studying them or rangers protecting them in their natural habitat.
“It’s really quite clever. On a computer screen, the screen stays still and the panorama is moved with the mouse, but on a tablet the picture is configured to move with the device, so the movement of the tablet acts as a window to the animal’s world”.
See it for yourself here: www.vEcotourism.org and click on ‘Take a tour’ to choose where to explore, virtually.
Images from Ian Redmond