They are lovely family creatures that live in the mountains and are currently on the verge of extinction. There are lots of factors that are affecting or a threat to the existence of gorillas and the major one is man. We discuss some of the reasons why mountain gorillas have been declared endangered and the threats to their survival.

Why are Mountain Gorillas endangered

Habitat loss

A lot of people live in the remote areas where mountain gorillas are found. Their need for land to cultivate has reduced the forest in which the gorillas live to virtual islands in the middle of expanding human settlements.
The clearing of the forest has made them homeless and this destruction affects the reproduction process because they are not certain of the future and the instability affects them too.

Traditional medicine

several parts of the gorillas are also highly sought after for magical charms by the traditional healers and this has also posed a threat to their existence.

Hunting

In addition to being hunted for meat, mountain gorillas are also illegally hunted for trophies and live infants. This is where people kill them to show their strength or power. In so doing they may kill a silver back of the group and therefore affecting the reproduction process or they make kill the mature ones living the young ones with no help. Many people especially in DRC hunt the gorillas for meet and this has put a lot of threat to their existence.

Oil & gas exploration

European oil and gas companies have been granted exploration consessions in Virunga National Park, home to Democratic Republic of the Congo’s mountain gorilla population. While gorilla habitat does not currently fall within an oil concession, development in the park could negatively affect the animals’ security.

Wildlife trade

Mountain gorillas are also targeted for illegal wildlife trade. Sometimes they are killed accidentally as these poachers are trying to kill other animals like the elephants and the like. This unrest in their habitat scares them away and they run to areas with minimal survival for them hence death.

Diseases

As more people move into their habitat, and more tourists come to see them, mountain gorillas are becoming increasingly exposed to a variety of human ailments.

War & instability

Although the refugees left the camps around Virunga National Park in the 1990s, continued civil unrest and the presence of armed militias makes survey and conservation work difficult in the DRC’s protected areas, which are now in rebel-held territory.

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