There are several threats to the Mountain gorilla population in their natural habitats. Mountain gorillas are one of the great apes that faced a high rate of population decrease to the extent that they were listed as critically endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
The IUCN is a global authority on the status of the natural world. However, mountain gorillas saw a beam to success in 2016 after the population census in the Virunga massif. there was an increase in the mountain gorilla population from about 880 gorillas to 1,004 individuals.
In 2018 the mountain gorilla population was moved from the critically endangered list to endangered, a step to success. The amazing success story still continued as the recent gorilla census in the Bwindi forest and Sarambwe reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo showed a further increase in the gorilla population.
The census showed an increase in the totals to 1063 individuals. Thanks to the great conservation efforts from several conservationists and authorities. Gorilla trekking safaris have a brighter future.
However, with the increase in the population of mountain gorillas, there are lots of threats to the population of mountain gorillas, here are some of the top threats to this population;
Mountain gorillas are the gorilla species that do not survive in captivity and therefore only survive in their natural habitats. However, loss of their habitat could be one threat to their increasing population because as the population increases the habitat isn’t.
Environmental degradation including deforestation and clearance of forests is one threat to mountain gorillas. An increase in the population of the surrounding communities has led to forest deforestation activities like cutting of forests for firewood, and conversion of neighboring land for agriculture which is limiting the boundaries of the gorilla habitat.
Mountain gorillas are very vulnerable to disease and can easily catch a human. Being closely related to humans gorillas have similar anatomical and physiological features and therefore can easily catch diseases from humans this is why individuals with a cold or diseases that put gorillas at risk are not allowed to go trekking and if you report at the trek start point your permit fees may be refunded. This is applicable for Uganda gorilla trekking safaris or gorilla tours in Rwanda to ensure that the gorillas are kept away from danger.
Lately, there are incidents of poaching mountain gorillas for food. This was common in the first two decades after their discovery when trophy hunters killed over 50 mountain gorillas and this jeopardized the gorilla population. Recently, the other threat to gorillas is getting trapped to snares set up by hunters for other wildlife species like antelopes, bush pigs, and other species. These snares cause injuries and occasionally kill gorillas.
Political instability, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, greatly affected the mountain gorilla population. The Democratic Republic of Congo has had lots of rebel groups attacking the Virunga National Park which led to the loss of several gorillas.
However, lately, the three countries are much more stable and have embarked on strong conservation efforts that have seen an increase in the gorilla population. Any form of political instability and guerilla wars are a high threat to the mountain gorilla population.
Mountain gorilla threats are majorly poaching, guerilla wars, habitat loss, and diseases. However, these alone are not the threats to mountain gorilla populations but other things like infrastructure development and climate change are some of the things that are posing a threat to the gorilla population. Follow the gorilla trekking rules and regulations to do your part in the conservation of gorillas and keep them safe.
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