Mountain Gorillas face real survival threats each day.
Health issues top the list but
deforestation and poaching are close behind.
Health Issues: Humans and Gorillas share 98.5% of the same DNA, which makes gorillas vulnerable to many of the same diseases as humans. However, gorillas have not developed the immunities to resist human diseases, and infections which could severely impact their population.
Habitat loss: The forests where Mountain Gorillas live are surrounded by rapidly increasing human settlement. The humans’ need for land, food and timber encroaches on the gorillas’ habitat through roads, slash and burn agriculture and logging. The resulting deforestation confines the gorillas to isolated forest islands. Some groups may raid crops for food, creating further animosity and retaliation.
Poaching: Mountain Gorillas are not usually hunted for bush meat, but they are frequently maimed or killed by traps and snares intended for other animals. They have been killed for their heads, hands, and feet, which are sold to collectors. Infants are sold to zoos, researchers, and people who want them as pets.The abduction of infants generally involves the loss of at least one adult, as members of a group will fight to the death to protect their young. Poaching for meat is particularly threatening in regions of political unrest. Most of the African great apes survive in areas of chronic insecurity, where there is a breakdown of law and order. The killing of mountain gorillas at Bikenge in the Virunga National Park in January 2007 was a well documented case.