A funny thing happen in my chiropractor’s office the other day, I got my conservation anger re-dislocated. I am less than a week from being in Cameroon, working with the amazing folks at Ape Action Africa — Director Rachel Hogan and her team — when I crash face first into this.
That’s Director Hogan, with a young western lowland gorilla, orphaned, a poaching victim, a tender lovely photograph by Frederic Courbet. The caption reads, “Rachel
Hogan, the director of Ape Action Africa, helps operate a primate sanctuary in Mefou National Park, Cameroon.” Basically accurate, Director Hogan does a bit more than “helps operate a primate sanctuary”, she is the lifeblood, and Mefou is not yet officially a national park, fingers have been crossed on that for several years now. It’s the other caption material that spins the lie.
It reads as follows:
Under normal circumstances I would have been frustrated, possibly angered, but I had just left my laptop where I was writing a conservation failing piece (to be posted shortly.) After posting two images representing the heroic work that Ape Action Africa the National Geographic editors then tell you how you can help — to change your life I suppose. Yes, give your support by adopting a gorilla through the World Wildlife Fund — an international corporate NGO that has NOTHING to do with caring for the gorilla bushmeat poaching victims in Cameroon, ABSOLUTELY ZERO! WWF does not run a sanctuary or orphanage in Cameroon for gorillas or any other ape or primate. Why was Ape Action Africa not given the adoption option? Why wasn’t their website listed for using your dollars to change your life — and that of numerous orphaned gorillas and chimpanzees?
The magazine did get one thing right, the great ape extinction crisis in Cameroon driven by “commercial logging, encroaching [palm oil] farming and hunting” will change your life.
All visual content from National Geographic’s publication 100 Places That Will Change Your Life