AWESOME GIVEAWAYS- CHILDREN'S ART TO CREATE CHANGE IN THE WORLD - EDUCATION
The Friday Club will be a bi-monthly social conscience campaign where our Childrens art classes create artworks to then put onto Tshirts. We will then sell the t-shirts with a 60% of the profits going towards a chose charity or organisation thus using their art to make change in the world. Over the course of the 10days we have Tshirts to giveaway, we will showcase the childrens art and the design process plus lots more so follow us and find out how you can be part of The Friday Club...
This first campaign is saving an endangered species "The Mountain Gorilla"
Out of all the animals we could help save and all the charities we could give to, especially during this particularly tough time in Christchurch, why should Mountain Gorillas get our attention. They're not even a native animal you may say.
Well. Let me tell you. If you've ever wanted to experience something truly amazing, hike your way through the depths of the Congo in Africa, through the lush greenery of a volcanic mountain filled with insects and reptiles alike, to see the great Mountain Gorillas.
Back in my early twenties on my great OE I did just this. And the hairs on my arms still stand up when I think of the sheer power that radiates off these magnificent creatures. About 20 of us met in a circle in a small green clearing after sleeping the night in tents; for a morning briefing. I can clearly recall the briefing that we had that morning before we walked into the jungle with nothing more than a couple of young guides with machetes to slash our way through the dense undergrowth. We were told that the silver back would dummy charge us, we were told that he would be protecting his group of females. We were told to act submissive, avoid eye contact and to crouch down so as to appear smaller. But nothing prepared me for the rush of adrenalin that hit me when; sure enough; the massive silverback charged us. We could see the bushes parting in a frenzy as he thrashed his way towards us stopping only metres away. Once he established that we were no threat, he moved away and we spent the rest of the afternoon sitting with his females and their gorgeous babies in this natural wild habitat.
Maybe it's the fact they share up to 90% of human DNA and have such human-like features, or maybe it's their enviable intelligence (did you know they can learn sign language?? Don't see your cat being able to do that..) but ever since that day I have been somewhat fascinated with the mountain gorilla, and feel a deep desire to prolong their life on this Earth for as long as possible.
Since the Mountain Gorilla was discovered in 1902, it's population has endured many a fight including war, hunting, habitat destruction and disease including things such as measles. These battles have dwindled the numbers significantly and at one point they were so endangered it was thought they might be extinct by the year 2000.
However, thanks to conservation efforts things are looking up. Despite ongoing civil conflict, poaching, and human invasion, the population of Mountain Gorillas have increased over the past decade. Findings show that numbers have grown to 604 individuals, up from 480 in 2010. However this still only puts the global wild gorilla population at still a bleak 1000 individuals.
The latest census has the number of mountain gorilla at just over 1000. Of these around 600 are in the Virungas (Rwanda and DCR - congo) with the remainder in Bwindi National Park (Uganda). In the 1980's there were only 250 animals left in the world - there are no mountain gorillas in the wild (they have never survived in captivity) so the gorilla you see in zoos are the Eastern or Western lowland gorilla - there are several thousand of these species in the wild.
SO what can we do you may ask? And how could buying these t-shirts improve their longevity? Let me explain...
Rangiora Vet Centre Vet and Director, Dr Ben Davidson, has been on 2 trips to Rwanda and Uganda as part of his M.V.SC. Here he travelled with a world leading researcher in wildlife disease as part of a 5 year research program investigating disease transmission between human, domestic livestock, and the Mountain Gorillas.
He worked alongside an amazing team at Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) where they were able to monitor the health of the local villagers, their livestock, and the gorilla populations. The team educates villagers on areas they can improve their own personal health and thus prevent disease being passed on to animals.
Any money raised will be added to the research and development of this team and allow Ben to monitor the duration of the project.
We are looking forward to being able to support this wonderful initiative and play a small part in ensuring the future for the Mountain Gorillas.