Why Are Gorillas Endangered?
Why are gorillas endangered? Gorillas are endangered because both types of gorilla species face an extremely high risk of extinction. In the wild there are Eastern lowland gorillas, Eastern gorillas, Western gorillas and Western lowland gorillas as well as Cross River gorillas.
On the earth, there are two species of gorillas of which are critically endangered. Each has two subspecies that is; the Western gorillas is divided into western lowland and Cross River gorillas whereas the eastern gorillas also split into eastern lowland and mountain gorillas.
The Western lowland gorillas has a high population subspecies compared to other subspecies of gorillas, with an estimated wild population of more than 300,000 individuals. Though they face a threat, leading them to decline in population and slow reproductive rate and aren’t nearly as safe as that number listed. The other western subspecies, the Cross River gorillas seems to be rarer as well in steep decline. About a total population of 250, it’s considered highly vulnerable to extinction.
The Eastern lowland gorillas ‘’Grauer’s gorillas’’ have suffered dramatic losses in the past years, with their population falling by 77% between 1996 and 2016.So there are few remaining in the wild of about 3,800 individuals.
Mountain gorillas still at risk of offering a rare ray of hope for gorilla’s conservation. The report shows that about 1,000exist but that’s great improvement considering the current total to that from early 1980s, when their total population had decreased to 240.Thanks to extreme conservation over the last few years, including intensive day to day protection, care of gorilla families /groups that have contributed a lot to its growth in population. Recently, it has been told to stand at 1069 individuals.
Do Gorillas Face Challenges /Threats to Gorillas
The answer is yes! There are four subspecies of gorillas in the wild and are endangered. But the nature and severity of those threats vary from place to place. And the most pressing dangers for wild gorillas are poaching, infectious diseases and loss of fragmentation of their habitat.
Poaching exists in all protective destination of gorillas such as capturing, killing and consumption of gorillas is illegal, but this hasn’t stopped the poachers encroaching their nature inhabits for bush meat trade which has decimated wild population in gorilla’s habitat.
Sometime gorillas are targeted by some poachers, whom also commonly fall victim to opportunistic hunters and snares meant for other wildlife. And according to the ‘’IUCN’’ International Union for Conservation of Nature. Poaching is the primary threat to both eastern lowland and western lowland gorillas and the threat is increasing where gorillas inhabits from, as logging and mining roads make it easier for poachers to get in and out of dense forests.
Poaching could be the biggest cause of declines among gorillas but also diseases have been listed as the second cause according to the ‘’IUCN’’ .Few years back ,Ebola virus specifically caused a series of these great ape die –off since the 1980s ,the worst of which often had mortality rates as high as 95%.The population in primates areas began to recover in about a decade as research shows .Although a full recovery would take 75 to 130 years and that’s only if all poaching had come to an end ,according to the IUCN notes .Transmission of human diseases is most in Cross River and eastern gorillas .Since they share a close DNA to humans of about 98%.
Loss and Fragmentation –Habitat
Loss of habitat is a widespread threat to all primates but it differs from place to place.
Western lowland gorillas have their own problems with oil palm plantations and industrial scale mining, for example both habitat they displace directly and the development corridors they enable, that can further fragment the forest and isolate gorilla population.
For Cross River and eastern gorillas inhabits is a total lost due to encroaching human settlement, meaning forest is removed by illegal logging, farmland, or expansion of villages.
Between 1995 and 2010, Cross River gorillas reportedly lost over 59% of their habitat.
What can we do to help or stop this?
However, humans and gorillas used to share a common ancestor about 10 million years ago, currently we are still on same share of 98% identical DNA with gorillas. Gorillas are close members of our evolutionary family, but being the only reason why we should help them. Gorillas also has a great role as members of their ecosystems, performing services like dispersing seeds of the fruit they eat as they roam across large swaths of forest. Above all, gorillas are highly intelligent social creatures who deserve to exist for their own of life, even though they don’t benefit the world around them.
Since gorillas face threats largely by human activities, we certainly owe them through providing ways to contribute;
Conservationists are working hand in hand to reduce pressure from poaching, diseases, habitat loss and other threats. You can come out through supporting groups like the Dian Fossey Gorillas Fund ‘’DFGF’’, the African Wildlife Foundation ‘’AWF’’ of the World Wildlife Fund ‘’WWF’’ few named. One can as well support gorilla’s sanctuaries like Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo ‘’DRC’’ and Virunga’s Fallen Rangers Fund, that provides critical support, employment and training to the widows as well as children of the Virunga Rangers who were once killed in the line of duty.
Visit Mountain Gorillas –Responsibly
This can be done if local communities involve in and benefit from conservation efforts and if tourists can be made to behave. Travelers visiting mountain gorillas are expected to stay at least 7 meters away and to skip the excursion if they are sick, which might result of spreading diseases to wild gorillas. Mountain gorillas can be trekked in three countries worldwide that’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park and Mgahinga Gorilla national park both in Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park in Congo.
You cannot visit Mountain gorillas without a permit sold at USD700 in Uganda, USD400 IN Congo and USD1500 in Rwanda. Uganda also offers a full day activity of gorilla habituation experience where tourist can spend up four hours with the park rangers, researchers in the habituating of mountain gorillas at cost USD1,500 per person per trek.