Mountain gorillas got so close to extinction. These apes are the world’s largest. They wander around the mountainous slopes of the Virunga Ranges and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. They have thick and long fur that helps them to survive on higher altitudes. So why were mountain gorillas close to extinction? There are so many reasons for this. Some of these reasons will be explained to you when you go on gorilla trekking safaris.
Habitat loss is the most common reason why gorillas were becoming extinct. The deforestation and degradation of forests by man for settlement and industrial use have caused mountain gorillas to lose their natural habitats with no option but to move to higher elevations which are dangerous to their health because of cold temperatures that can cause diseases like pneumonia.
Poaching is still one of the reasons why mountain gorillas were going extinct. Much as the locals poach gorillas and sell its meat to the rich folks who enjoy bush meat, some locals also poach them to consume the meat by themselves and feed their families as well.
Disease outbreak, like Ebola in gorilla families, is also one of the reasons why mountain gorillas were going extinct. The birth rate of these primates is too low and worst of all, they don’t have the necessary immune system to fight the diseases. A disease outbreak in most cases leads to death hence affecting the total mountain gorilla population by reducing them in number.
Illegal pet trade
Some locals are been given lots of money by foreigners for poaching mountain gorillas. Some of these foreigners own private animal zoos. In most cases they take their catch they’re forgetting these apes cannot survive in low altitude areas. Some of them use gorillas as their pets. The lifespan of mountain gorillas is drastically reduced when in captivity. This has partly led to the extinction of mountain gorillas.
Mountain gorillas normally don’t have any other wildlife predators except for leopards. The common predators of mountain gorillas are the leopard. These leopards enjoy gorilla meat so much. Mountain gorillas also sometimes fall in traps that are set for other animals in the forest like bushbucks and antelopes. These snares have injured very many of them and led to the death of some.
Some local traditional healers believe that some body parts of mountain gorillas work like charm for magic. They always kill mountain gorillas for their own traditional benefits hence making them more extinct. They give these body parts to their clients.
The killing of gorillas to be used as trophies
Some people kill mountain gorillas for prestige. This shows how powerful they are. The display of the remains of the great apes as trophies is prestigious. Unfortunately, such people do not value the importance of mountain gorillas to the people and the environment.
Silverbacks killing other males
The other uncommon reason for mountain gorillas becoming extinct is the fact that some Silverbacks fight each other to death. Silverbacks kill all the young males in their groups after triumphing in a challenge to avoid being challenged in the near future. Silverback gorillas also fight and sustain deep wounds that can lead to their death after a few days yet it’s always hard for their population to recover due to their low birth rates.
Mountain gorillas are herbivores animals that entirely feed on vegetation. They sometimes balance their diet with ants, termites, and insects. They live in social structures of groups dominated by a silverback, that is most times the oldest male gorilla.