Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why are mountain gorillas endangered?

Mountain gorillas are among the most famous of all endangered animals. These majestic animals live in the tropical mountain forests in central Africa, but they are lately finding it very hard to survive, and a couple of years back they were brought at the brink of extinction.

There are several reasons why mountain gorillas are endangered such as habitat loss and deforestation which moves gorillas to more and more isolated areas, and gives them tough time in finding the food. Other reasons include poaching because some cruel "collectors" are ready to pay handsomely for their heads, hands, and feet. And they have been also very unfortunate to live in the areas where civil wars are quite frequent, a fact that certainly doesn't help the conservation cause, as it means that sometimes they have been also killed because of their meat.

Mountain gorillas have lately become quite a touristic attraction in Congo, Rwanda and Uganda which has somewhat put more emphasis on their conservation efforts. Fortunately, it looks like the most recent conservation efforts have been quite successful, as according to the latest reports mountain gorillas that live in the Virunga Massif have experienced a significant increase in population.

If the latest reports are correct then the Virunga mountain gorilla population has experienced increase of 25% in the last seven years, and today accounts for 480 individuals living in 36 groups. This means that the current world population of mountain gorilla is now close to 800 individuals.

Young mountain gorilla.

The main factor responsible for this positive trend was a collaborative transboundary effort by organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda to protect the gorillas and their habitat.

However, even despite these positive numbers, mountain gorillas are still under threat of extinction, and it will take lot more conservation efforts to remove gorillas from the endangered animals list.

Virunga Massif is still one of the most popular areas for poachers in Africa, and the latest proof to this was the discovery of 200 poachers' snares in this area. Though poachers usually do not set their sight on gorillas, snares set by them are still a great threat.

Hopefully, positive news will continue to overshadow the negative ones, and mountain gorilla population will continue its road to recovery. These incredible animals need to survive, and conservation efforts must continue.


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