From the Associated Press comes a sweet story, an innocent story about helping endangered wildlife in Africa.
Silverback gorillas in Uganda are in imminent danger from poachers, farmers and rebels. Only about 740 are left in the wild; nearly half make their home on a government preserve. The Ugandan government does all they can to protect these animals from these forces and it's not cheap. The government has hatched an innovative plan to raise some money: put the gorillas on social networking sites and allow people to add them as friends in exchange for a donation of as little as $1.
The AP story goes on to talk briefly about the habitats, the animals and the efforts to protect them both. Where is the problem? Let's hear from this well-meaning gentleman...
About 10,500 tourists visit Uganda each year to see the gorillas. An entry permit for the park is $500 per person. Last year Uganda earned $600 million through tourism and more than 90 percent of the money was from gorilla tourism.
"Why visit Rome to see ruins or Egypt to see mere piles of stones called pyramids, yet you can go to Bwindi and see your next of kin?" asked Uganda's Minister of Tourism, Kahinda Otafiire, pointing out that gorillas share more than 95 percent of their DNA with humans.
I'm currently taking predictions on which conservative "news" outlet will pounce on this first. My guess is Fox & Friends, the morning show that starts your day by making you so furious at its ignorance you have no choice but to get up.
The official site is http://www.friendagorilla.org/ and it appears to have just been launched recently. I hope you'll join me in contributing just a few dollars to this cause to save some of the most majestic creatures on Earth... and to refute those who either cannot or will not understand that all life is bound together in a delicate balance and worth protecting.