GREATER ITOMBWE MASSIF/ECOSYSTEM
Engaging local communities,
the nation of the
Democratic Republic of Congo,
and the entire world in assuring the immediate preservation and ongoing protection of the
Could it be that the sun is setting over the Itombwe?
If we don't act immediately, if we do not commit our hearts, our convictions and all possible resources at our disposal to the Greater Itombwe Massif, the sun will set one last time over another crucial wildlife conservation opportunity lost. The chilling tragedy of our failure to act will impact generations who will wonder why? Why did the level of our commitment fall so far short of the possibilities before us? Why did we allow our prejudice favoring wildlife blind our capacity to understand the absolute importance of an improving quality of life for the people who live as neighbors to the gorillas; that the heartfelt engagement and ownership of the local people in any of our conservation efforts, was actually the only real hope for gorillas? Why did we not find a way to bridge the all-to-common "Wildlife Conservation Gap" (between love of wildlife and love of humanity) committing to work with the local people to find economic and broader solutions that would offer them a real source of hope and reassurance of a brighter future?
After all, it is the local people of the Itombwe who ultimately hold in their hands the protection and survival of the gorillas and so much more. And likewise, in remarkable ways, the greatest hope, and even the economic potential for the local people and communities of the Itombwe, is actually held in the great and mighty hands of the gorillas living just next door. Before the sun sets, Itombwe Conservation sees an amazing opportunity to make it happen. We can do it.
Where do we go from here?
A promising and enduring future for gorillas and their forest habitat depends entirely on an even more promising future for the local people. It is very likely that local residents and communities will consume and destroy this delicate vulnerable ecosystem, eliminating the forest, the gorillas and so many other wildlife species. Yet, they might still ultimately embrace the conviction that their own future and prosperity is irrevocably tied to the preservation and the conservation of the same.
Our first assignment is to look within ourselves to be certain that we have enough love and concern for the local people. We must enlist the ears of our hearts in listening conversations; we must seek intentional opportunities for building credible relationships on trust and honor; we must enjoin others in a journey of mutual respect toward a common goal of cherishing people as much as we cherish the trees and the forest, the gorillas and the wildlife. This is our beginning, this is the determining factor of our true success.
We still have time...
An exploding human population; limited economic opportunities; a deepening subsistence crisis... the daily destruction of a receding mountain forest and habitat; plummeting numbers of gorillas and other wildlife species... still, Itombwe Conservation fervently believes we still have time. While the situation appears dire, while things are moving fast toward what might be a point-of-no-return, even to a place beyond recovery, we believe that in the immediate here and now, the implementation of the Itombwe Conservation principles and plan, will transform and utterly alter the current trajectory. We are convinced that we still have time.
Itombwe Conservation, Inc. proclaims its deep and uncompromising love and respect for the Democratic Republic of Congo and her great and wonderful people. We seek only to help; work with; do all that we can to make things better; to inspire hope and to serve where best we can. We will always respect the leadership and laws of this beautiful and resourceful, independent nation. Our integrity and reputation must always be defined and measured by the honor and motives reflected in our actions and impact.