“More and more visitors act as tourists rather than as ecotourists and eventually destroy what they came to see” (Russon, Susilo and Russell 2004)… How about we change that?
11 Easy Human Apes Rules
To protect our Great Apes family!
Primate tourism has exploded in recent years, and with it, the challenge of keeping this form of tourism from impacting wildlife negatively has deepened.
Respecting the habitat and the welfare of the wildlife is the number one ethical rule for anyone enjoying the activity of wildlife watching or photography. It is easy to get caught up in a moment of excitement or ignorance and forget to behave mindfully. Here, we are presenting further details, considerations, and requirements for when you go to see any of our siblings: Chimps (including the smaller Bonobos), Gorillas, and Orangutans. Keep in mind that general EwA Wildness Etiquette also applies when ‘Aping’.
Knowing is Caring: Learn before you go. Visit our hominid cousins well prepared so as to minimize your impact, and maximize safety for anyone (them included) as well as for the enjoyment of everyone. Enjoy!
All great apes are endangered. Actually, this is not quite true... If you search directly for ‘Great Apes’ in the IUCN Red List species assessment database, then what you get back is not 6 species (as most expect), but 7. Six of them are endangered, 4 of which are classified as Critically Endangered –the highest risk category assigned by the IUCN Red List for wild species. All of the 6 endangered species continue to see their population decreasing. The 7th is on the contrary rapidly increasing and classified ‘Least Concern’: Homo Sapiens.
All great apes (other than us) are indeed endangered. The population numbers and their decline over the last century are staggering. It is not the time to feel desperate, instead, we have to work harder, raise awareness, and take action to protect them in their natural habitat. Letting them disappear is absolutely not an option for them and us.
Great Apes Populations Estimates
- Gorilla beringei (Eastern Gorilla). Critically Endangered: Pop < 5000 | Pop. trend: ⇩ Decreasing
- Gorilla gorilla (Western Gorilla). Critically Endangered: Pop ~ few hundred thousand | Pop. trend: ⇩ Decreasing
- Pan paniscus (Bonobo). Endangered: Pop ~ 20,000 | Pop. trend: ⇩ Decreasing
- Pan troglodytes (Chimpanzee). Endangered: Pop ~ few hundred thousand | Pop. trend: ⇩ Decreasing
- Pongo abelii (Sumatran Orangutan). Critically Endangered: Pop < 15,000 | Pop. trend: ⇩ Decreasing
- Pongo pygmaeus (Bornean Orangutan) . Critically Endangered: Pop < 60,000 | Pop. trend: ⇩ Decreasing
- Homo sapiens (Human). Least Concern: Pop > 7,500,000,000 | Pop. trend: ⇧ Increasing
Read more... Four out of six great apes one step away from extinction - IUCN Red List (2016)
1 | 👥 Group size rule: Size matters, the smaller the better
2 | 😷 Health rule: Keeping our germs and human parasites for ourselves
3 | 💩 Pee & Poop etiquette: The ecological cost of our waste
4 | ⏰ Time rule: Not overstaying our welcome
5 | 📐 Distance rule: Keep your distance, move slowly
6 | 🍔 Food rule: Keeping them on a wild diet
7 | 🗣 Voice rule: No monkey noise–Keep quiet
8 | 🔭 Observing rule: Gaze sensibly & snap mindfully
9 | 🏃🏽♀️ Retreating rule: Let it go… calmly
10 | 🚮 No Litter rule: Leave no trace
11 | 💬 Engaging rule: Lead by example, challenge when possible, report when necessary
📚 References & Extended Bibliography
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◊ Note that this Etiquette is and will remain a work in progress. If there is anything else you would like to see added, please let us know and we’ll do our best to include it. Let’s be Earthwise Aware. Let’s enjoy and protect wildlife responsibly! Thanks for your support!