Endangered Species: Gorillas

by - June 03, 2016

Following the death of Harambe, many conservationists are pointing out the situation of wild gorillas. Gorillas are being driven to extinction from the wild. Harambe was always an ambassador for his species, and I think it's important that people put their feelings towards his death into helping his fellow gorillas who are facing extinction, in the wild. This new "Endangered Species" series on my blog aims to highlight the varying situations of different endangered animals all over the world, who may not be getting the awareness they deserve.

Everyone has heard of gorillas - they share over 90% of our DNA and so people empathise with them greatly, which was made clear after Harambe's death. They're incredible, and extremely social animals. There are two species of gorilla; the Eastern Gorilla and the Western Gorilla. The Eastern Gorilla has two subspecies which are the Eastern Lowland Gorilla and the Mountain Gorilla, and the Western Gorilla also has two subspecies which are the Western Lowland Gorilla and the Cross River Gorilla. All range from being classified as Endangered or Critically Endangered. 


In terms of numbers left there are:
  • roughly 100,000 Western Lowland Gorillas 
  • 250-300 Cross River Gorillas 
  • just under 4,000 Eastern Lowland Gorillas 
  • around 880 Mountain Gorillas 
These numbers are obviously, not great. Having less than 1,000 for two subspecies is just shocking, and highlights how urgent the situation is. There are many threats to Gorillas: habitat loss, civil war, bushmeat trade, climate change, poaching and disease, to name a few. Habitat loss threatens over 80% of gorillas, as their homes are cut down for agriculture and logging, or they live in unprotected areas.

Unsurprisingly, education is one of the most important solutions in helping gorilla populations. Educating local people is important in helping to reduce poaching and improving hygiene to stop spread of disease. Educating people more globally is important to prevent severe habitat loss and climate change. Put simply, what is happening now needs to change. Fast.

Eco-tourism is another important aspect of conservation. It brings much-needed funds into environmental initiatives and creates awareness. Tourists can go home and tell people what they saw and learnt. It spreads the awareness across borders, which is so important. Personally I'm a big fan of eco-tourism. I think it's great for people to go out and see as much of the world as they can because it really does help. Of course, I realise not everyone will have such opportunity (which is why I support zoos: see post.) As I've said before, generally speaking, once you've seen an animal, or a place, for yourself, you have a much greater emotional investment in them and are more willing to help.

Seeing the gorillas in their natural habitat is definitely on my bucket list!

A family of Gorillas: source

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