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Understanding Why Mountain Gorillas Were Endangered

Why are mountain gorillas endangered? What threats do they face? Mountain gorillas are a subspecies of eastern gorillas and are primarily found in the Virunga Massif, which spans across Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In the 19th century, gorillas faced the brink of extinction, but thanks to conservation efforts, their status was improved, and they were removed from the IUCN’s Red List of Endangered Species of Primates.

Currently, there are slightly more than 1000 mountain gorillas left in the world. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, located in southwestern Uganda, is home to half of this population.

As a result, it is considered the premier destination for observing mountain gorillas in Africa.

Why are Mountain Gorillas Endangered

About 17% of mountain gorillas are protected, while the remaining percentage is left in the wild, facing various challenges.

Humans are the most common predators of mountain gorillas. Poachers kill them for various purposes, including bushmeat.

Although leopards may occasionally eat gorilla meat, it’s not common for them to catch mountain gorillas.

Additionally, diseases like Ebola pose a significant threat to mountain gorillas, and their low birth rate makes any deaths a significant concern.

Below are some of the reasons why mountain gorillas are endangered and the threats they face:

Mountain Gorilla Threats

  • Habitat loss: Human encroachment into gorilla habitats through settlement, farming, deforestation, agriculture, and industrial development has forced mountain gorillas to move to higher elevations. The harsh weather conditions at such elevations can lead to illnesses like pneumonia, making survival more difficult.
  • Disease: Mountain gorillas are susceptible to human diseases such as flu, scabies, and pneumonia. Increased human contact with gorillas raises the risk of disease transmission. Maintaining an 8-meter distance during gorilla trekking helps protect these primates, as they lack the necessary immunities to combat diseases when exposed. Ebola is a common disease that affects mountain gorillas.
  • Poaching: Mountain gorillas are sometimes accidentally caught in traps set for other animals like small antelopes and bushbucks. They have also been hunted as trophies, but they cannot survive in captivity and can only thrive in elevated areas.
  • Pet trade: The pet trade is a contributing factor to mountain gorilla poaching. Foreigners offer substantial sums of money to locals to capture mountain gorillas, which are then kept as pets in private homes or animal zoos. However, these gorillas cannot thrive under such conditions.
  • Bushmeat: Some individuals consider gorilla meat prestigious and in high demand in the market. This demand has led to the killing of mountain gorillas. Militia groups may also consume gorilla meat for survival, particularly when food is scarce.
  • Traditional medicine: Traditional healers and magicians believe that certain parts of mountain gorillas can be used for charms. They kill mountain gorillas to obtain these body parts, which they then provide to clients. However, there is no scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of these body parts as charms.
  • Oil and gas exploration: European oil and gas companies have obtained concessions in Virunga National Park in Congo, posing a threat to mountain gorilla security. The development of mining industries in the park could further facilitate poaching. Virunga is one of only four national parks globally that protect mountain gorillas.
  • Political and civil unrest: Political instability, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has long been a threat to mountain gorillas. Even after refugees left the park in the 1990s, their presence led to more mountain gorilla killings for meat. Some claim that gorilla meat is exceptionally tasty, making it sought after.

These threats underscore the importance of ongoing conservation efforts to protect mountain gorillas and their habitats.

Gorilla FAQs & Information

  1. Why Can’t You Look or Make Eye Contact with a Gorilla?
  2. Why Silverback Gorillas Fight
  3. Importance of Mountain Gorillas
  4. What to do when a gorilla charges on you
  5. What is The Largest Species of Gorillas?
  6. What is a Group of Gorillas Called?
  7. What is the Mountain Gorillas Role in The Ecosystem?
  8. The Mountain Gorilla Defense Mechanism
  9. How to Provoke/Annoy a Gorilla
  10. How Gorillas Greet Each Other
  11. Do All Gorillas Become Silverbacks?
  12. Do Gorillas like Humans
  13. Do gorillas Eat of Kill Their Babies?
  14. Do Gorillas Eat Humans?
  15. Can you Tame a Gorilla
  16. Can you Own a Gorilla?
  17. Do Mountain Gorillas live in Families & Groups?
  18. How to Protect & Save Mountain Gorillas
  19. Why Gorillas Are So Strong
  20. How Many Humans Does it Take to Beat a Gorilla?
  21. How do you call a Baby Gorilla?
  22. How Do Gorillas Sleep?
  23. How Mountain Gorillas Communicate
  24. The Gorilla Life Cycle
  25. Do Gorillas drink water?
  26. Are Gorillas friendly & gentle to humans?
  27. Why do Apes, Gorillas beat their chest & sound hollow?
  28. Why were Mountain Gorillas going extinct?
  29. What is a Silverback Gorilla?
  30. Gorilla Species: Different Kinds/Types of Gorilla & Breeds
  31. Mountain Gorilla Diet
  32. Mountain Gorilla Size, Average Height & Weight Measurements
  33. Natural Mountain Gorilla Predators
  34. Mountain Gorilla Population
  35. Lifespan of Mountain Gorillas
  36. Mountain Gorilla Natural Habitat
  37. Mountain Gorilla Conservation Efforts
  38. Mountain Gorilla Behavior
  39. How to Survive a Gorilla Attack on Humans
  40. Are Gorillas Dangerous to the People
  41. Why are Gorillas Poached in Africa
  42. How Gorillas Adapt to Rain-forest Environment
  43. Interesting Facts about Mountain Gorillas in Africa
  44. Traits, Qualities & Characteristics of Mountain Gorillas
  45. How Strong is a Silverback Gorilla?
  46. Best Place to See Mountain Gorillas in Africa
  47. Uganda Gorilla Families
  48. Rwanda Gorilla Families
  49. Congo Gorilla Families

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