Scientists are more certain than ever that the number of endangered gorillas living in the wild continues to drop by 2.7% annually according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Therefore, action needs to be taken to stop this trend. But first, Buckle up! and let’s dig in to find out what these gentle giants are: Gorillas are classified into two species: Eastern gorillas and Western gorillas. The Western gorillas are further subdivided into Western lowland and Cross River gorillas, while the Eastern gorillas are further subdivided into Mountain gorillas, also known as Gorilla Beringei Beringei, which live in high altitude areas, and Eastern lowland gorillas, also known as Grauer’s Gorillas, which live in lowland areas. Gorillas live in groups of 5 to 10 individuals, with each group dominated by a male gorilla known as a silverback, who selects where the group will feed, defend, and protect the group from other gorilla families, and so on.
Gorillas may be found in three African countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Uganda, gorillas may be found in two national parks: Bwindi National Park, which is home to half of the world’s gorilla population, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Gorillas may be found in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, which is the most visited gorilla destination in Africa because of its ease of access, and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park, which is home to eastern lowland gorillas.
Illnesses, gorillas share about 98 percent of their DNA with humans, making them closely related to people and hence susceptible to human diseases such as flu and colds. When gorillas are exposed to human diseases, it becomes difficult for them to fight the diseases because they lack strong immune systems. As a result, the disease spreads to other individuals in the family because they live in groups and they begin to die, reducing gorilla numbers in any gorilla destination.
Gorillas in Africa reside in tropical rain forests, which provide a cool, wet temperature and a variety of flora types for the gorillas to graze on, since gorillas are herbivores who feed on bamboo shoots, stems, fruits, nettles, and ants, among other things. Gorillas face a threat of habitat loss due to a variety of factors such as increased human population in communities, which leads to encroachment of forests by surrounding communities for agricultural purposes, livestock breeding, deforestation for firewood and charcoal production, among others, which causes gorilla habitat to be destroyed and some gorillas to be killed as a result of these factors.
Civil wars and instabilities, in recent years, there have been civil wars in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has claimed many lives of mountain gorillas, making them endangered, but all gorilla destinations, including Volcanoes National Park, Bwindi National Park, Mgahinga National Park, and Virunga National Park, are safe and stable from wars and instabilities.
Lack of awareness, some people poach mountain gorillas in the park due to a lack of awareness about the importance of gorillas in society and the country; therefore, people in the surrounding communities need education about the importance of gorillas to motivate them to conserve mountain gorillas and to notify authorities in the event of any gorilla threats.
Poaching, gorillas face a threat from poachers, who set traps to take wild animals such as antelopes and bush pigs, among others, and end up trapping gorillas since they are mobile and always on the move in search of food. Poaching was rampant at Volcanoes Massif Area when Dian Fossey was still researching mountain gorillas, but following her death, the government began fighting to poach, and there are currently no reports of poaching in the park. However, poaching occurs on occasion in Congo’s Virunga national park, where poachers shoot gorillas for a variety of reasons, including profit.
Poachers target mountain gorillas for their flesh because some individuals who have had gorilla meat report that it is tasty, resulting in a strong demand for gorilla meat in the market. Because of the country’s poverty, gorilla meat is often marketed to other nations such as Europe.
Gorillas can be protected from the aforementioned threats through a variety of means, including: