'Gorilla Tactics: How To Save A Species’ by Greg Cummings
Africa’s rich and abundant wildlife has long fascinated the world. Gorillas are among the most recognized of the large charismatic mammals, a flagship species for the natural world, and wholly beguiling. They appeal to our better nature. A big hairy ape known for its gentleness and strong familial ties gives us hope. Great apes are a reflection of us in the natural world. Over the past 30 years, Greg Cummings has endeavoured to save as many of his hairy mountain cousins as he can, in Rwanda, Uganda, Congo, Gabon, and Cameroon. Raising awareness of their plight and millions of dollars for their protection, and building a community-based conservation program from scratch in war-torn Africa, while guiding captains of industry, Hollywood stars, polymaths, and journalists up steep volcanoes to meet these gentle giants, Greg sees himself as a double agent, serving both gorillas and humans — a gorilla man.
Climate change is forcing the issue of habitat and species loss on our planet. Multiple extreme actions are required over the next decade to stem the tide of environmental degradation. In the mid-1970s, mountain gorillas were on the brink of extinction. But a concerted and collaborative effort by dedicated conservationists turned their fortunes around. Greg was among them. On his watch, the mountain gorilla population grew by over 50 percent. Of particular value to those working on the front lines to mitigate the effects of global warming today, are Greg’s accounts of the triumphs and failures of that decades-long struggle. Ostensibly, he tells us how to save a large charismatic flagship species. Uniquely, he takes the point of view of a fundraiser, rather than a biologist, and shows the reader the mechanics of a cause as well as how to fund it.
‘Gorilla Tactics’ is a practical guide to achieving conservation success in the most difficult circumstances and against all odds, and, by way of grassroots action, helping poor people, too.
“Welcome to our new client, Greg Cummings! We are excited to welcome him to Langtons International Agency. Greg submitted his proposal for his new book “Gorilla Tactics: How to Save a Species” which we took on immediately. This stunning biographical book explores the story of how Cummings and his wife Jillian have spent two decades ‘raising money from the rich and famous in Mayfair, Manhattan and Malibu and disbursing the funds to poor communities and to the upkeep of the gorilla habitats in Africa as seen by Dian Fossey.'” – Linda Langton, President, Langtons International Agency
An award-winning conservationist, Greg Cummings achieved notable success protecting wild gorilla populations in Africa through community-based initiatives. During his 17-year tenure as director of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund UK, he raised millions of dollars from companies, foundations and individuals around the world. All that money was invested directly into communities adjacent to gorilla habitats, which helped ensure their survival.
As a veteran safari guide, Greg has taken movie producers, heads of industry, ambassadors, and celebrities to meet great apes in the wild. After trekking with him in the Congo jungle, Steve McQueen, who recently won an Oscar for Best Picture, said, “Basically he’s Dennis Hopper out of Apocalypse Now!”
Greg is a consummate storyteller, and has appeared with Tom Brokaw on the Today Show, participated in docs for the BBC, NPR, and CBC, and published articles in The Guardian, Sea Angler, and The Ecologist.
Listen (above) as Robyn Burns of CBC Victoria’s “All Points West” interviews Greg about his career as a conservationist and safari guide.
Apes in Danger, a three part BBC documentary that takes a definitive look at the global crises facing the world’s last great apes, aired in the UK in 2006. The series’ episode featuring Greg’s campaign to mitigate the threat that coltan mining posed on gorillas in the Congo drew its highest viewer ratings.
In March 2006, to mark World Water Day, Greg took Daryl Hannah to meet gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, and she later opened a new water cistern at a school. The trip was filmed for Richard Bangs Adventures.
In 2002, Greg launched a campaign to mitigate the impact that coltan mining was having on the Eastern lowland gorillas in the Congo. He subsequently recruited Leonardo DiCaprio to lead the campaign, and created the Durban Process, an inventive forum involving all sides of the conflict, to save gorillas.
Album cover designer, Storm Thorgerson made this film of Arthur C. Clarke’s goodwill message which was shown at the premiere of the movie CONGO at the Empire Leicester Square, London June 1995. Greg was proud to get a shout-out from such a far-seeing visionary. (“Miss you, Arthur.” -ed)