Mountain gorilla threats put these endangered species in a risk of extinction. Mountain gorillas are one of the endangered species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. It was in 2018 when the mountain gorilla population was listed as endangered from critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Here are the major threats to the elusive mountain gorillas;
Mountain gorillas are very susceptible to disease and can even catch a cold from humans. This is because they are closely related to humans with more than 90% DNA and have similar anatomical and physiological features. Exposure to an illness or disease that is relatively innocuous to humans may wipe away a whole population. During these times with the COVID 19 pandemic, tourists going for gorilla tracking in Uganda or Rwanda gorilla tours should ensure that they are in perfect health. Remember to carry your mask and always wash your hands before the trek.
Mountain gorilla habitat is on threat by human population. Mountain gorillas only survive in their natural habitats, in the forests of Bwindi and Virunga massif. Unfortunately, the primary threat to mountain gorillas is habitat loss as a result of forest clearance and degradation. With the increasing population in the human communities around the gorilla habitats, there’s competition for natural resources such as firewood that leads to deforestation. There’s also conversion of neighboring land for agriculture which limits the boundaries of the gorilla habitat. The rapid deforestation does not only restrict the habitat where gorillas sustain their lives but also expose them to other threats like bush meat trade. It is very important to conserve and protect the gorilla habitat in order to reduce on habitat loss.
Hunting and poaching of mountain gorillas is not so common recently. However, in the first two decades after their discovery trophy hunters killed over 50 mountain gorillas which jeopardized the gorilla population. Hunters set up traps for other animals like antelopes, bush pigs and other species and unfortunately mountain gorillas get into them. These cause injuries and occasionally kill gorillas.
There are also other threats to mountain gorilla populations that include infrastructure development, climate change and many more. If you are planning a gorilla tracking safari in Uganda, support gorilla conservation and reduce mountain gorilla threats by not exposing any harm to gorillas.