An essential component of the PGFV’s overall mission is to promote the conservation of great apes through outreach and education programs for national and international visitors, and the local community. Approximately 150-200 international and national tourists visit the PGFV sanctuary each year, and these visits play an important role in raising awareness on great ape conservation and the bush meat trade.
The 2012 Great Ape Education Program
In 2012, approximately 515 primary students from 7 villages participated
in the PGFV great ape education program. The overall goal of the program was to teach students about the importance of great ape conservation and the
protection of their habitat through discussions, interactive activities and
role-playing. Specifically, the objectives were:
Ø to become aware of the great apes that live in Gabon;
Ø to understand the important ecological role that great apes play in the tropical forest;
Ø to become aware of the threats to great apes and why they need to be protected;
Ø to understand the importance of the tropical forest and its protection;
Ø to learn about actions that can be taken to help protect great apes and the tropical forest;
Evaluation was an integral part of the education program, and the results helped us to determine if the key messages were understood by students and to assess if we were successful in meeting our objectives. The evaluation consisted of a short questionnaire with 6 questions directly related to the program themes and objectives, and was distributed to students in grades 3,4 and 5 directly before and after delivering the program.
Highlights from the post versus pre-evaluation results included:
1. Who are the great apes of Gabon?
· 92% of students responded with gorilla and chimpanzee, compared with only 64% during the pre-evaluation
2. Where should gorillas and chimpanzees live?
· fewer students thought they should live in a cage but more students felt that they should live in a zoo during the post-evaluation
3. Should gorillas and chimpanzees be protected? Why?
· 94% of students thought they should be protected compared to 76% during pre-evaluation
· reasons mentioned the most for why they should be protected was because of the important role they play in nature and to prevent them from disappearing; during the pre-evaluation, the most frequent reason given for why they should not be protected was because they are mean or dangerous
4. Are gorillas and chimpanzees important for the forest?
· 98% of students thought they were important for the forest compared to 84% during the pre-evaluation
5. Why are there less and less gorillas and chimpanzees in the forest?
· most students replied that hunting (85%) and habitat loss (28%) were significant threats facing great apes, compared with 75% and 7%, respectively, during pre-evaluation
6. What actions can be taken to prevent gorillas and chimpanzees from
disappearing from the forest?
· most students responded that stopping hunting (55%) and stopping habitat loss (23%) were solutions to protecting great apes from disappearing, while during the pre-evaluation students responded protect in a cage or village (32%), stop hunting (31%), and protect in a zoo or behind a barrier (15%)
A student from Assewe school with educator Landry Pambo
learning about the great apes of Gabon © PGFV
Educator Arielle Azizet demonstrating a chimpanzee call
with students from Omboue school © PGFV
A student from Projet Fernan-Vaz school with educators
Landry Pambo and Orphee Ogoula
reading protected species legislation © PGFV
Students from Assewe school role playing
great ape behavior © PGFV
Students from Odombo school building
a great ape nest © PGFV