Friday, May 18, 2012

Wild at Heart: The Gorilla

Over the next week and a half, I will be bringing you previews of the work that will be exhibited at May 26th's "Wild at Heart: Keep Wildlife in the Wild," the endangered species benefit that Andrew Hosner and I are co-curating at Thinkspace. 20% of the proceeds of the show will go to Born Free USA to help threatened wildlife. Hope to see you there!

KiSung Koh "Gorilla Dreams"

Gorillas inhabit the tropical and subtropical zones of Africa, from montane cloud forests to lowland swamps. They live in troops consisting of one adult male or “silverback,” several adult females, and their offspring. When a troop is attacked by humans, leopards or other gorillas, the silverback will stand up to protect the troop, even at the cost of his own life. With DNA 98% similar to humans, gorillas are highly intelligent, having proven capable of laughing, grieving, learning language, making and using tools, and grasping the concepts of past and future. All species of gorilla are listed as endangered, and they face growing threats from habitat loss and poaching for the bushmeat trade. Recently, many troops have been decimated by the Ebola virus, which has a 90% mortality rate among gorillas and has killed tens of thousands already. Vaccination experiments are underway, and researchers hope to inoculate key populations as a hedge against total species collapse.

Born Free supports the Last Great Ape Organization, which works with Cameroon’s government to prosecute and conduct sting operations against wildlife dealers, and the rescue efforts of their Limbe Wildlife Center, which cares for two troops of gorillas rescued from the exotic pet and meat trade, as well as many other endangered animals.

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