Saturday, January 21, 2012

Save the Mountain Gorillas – Part II

A Mountain Gorilla Mother with her baby
A Mother Gorilla with her baby

Please click here to read the first part of this blog series.

Mountain Gorillas face a variety of threats in their day-to-day lives. When two mountain gorilla groups cross paths, there is a chance for confrontations as Silverbacks try to acquire females from the other group. The same happens when an adult Silverback tries to overthrow the reigning Silverback to take over his group. But, in most of the instances, gorillas indulge in chest-beating and bluff charges, at which point, the confrontation is called off. Gorillas are very gentle by nature, quite contrary to movies like ‘King Kong’ and always try to avoid violent confrontation as much as possible.

Gorillas also face danger from leopards, which often prey on them.

But the Mountain Gorillas face their biggest danger from Man himself.
  • Poaching – Gorillas often fall victim to traps, intended NOT for them but other animals like pigs. In addition, baby gorillas are sought by poachers for the illegal pet trade and this leads to the entire Gorilla family getting massacred. 
  • Civil Wars – The Civil Wars have led to mines being placed in the forests, leading to heavy fatalities among the Mountain Gorillas
  •  Loss of Habitat – Right next to the forests frequented by Gorillas, there are human settlements. As humans take up more and more land for cultivation and other purposes, this leads to habitat loss and gorillas end up raiding the crops for food, leading to retaliation and further gorilla deaths.
  •  Close contact with human beings – Gorillas are highly susceptible to human diseases. This means that in addition to the poachers, gorillas are at a very high risk even from volunteers and conservationists, who are dedicated to protecting the lives of Gorillas.
Senkwekwe's family of Mountain Gorillas was massacred by poachers in 2007
Senkwekwe's family of Mountain Gorillas was massacred by poachers in 2007

To counter these challenges, many organizations and individuals are putting in their best efforts to save this magnificent species. Despite increased patrolling against the poachers and regularly removing the snares/traps, expanding the national park areas to prevent habitat loss and educating school children about the importance and need to save the Gorillas, the current situation looks very grim.

A Silverback Mountain Gorilla ponders his grim future
A Silverback Gorilla ponders his grim future

Today, only 786 Mountain Gorillas survive in the wild.

ACT NOW. For more on how YOU can help save Mountain Gorillas, please visit the following sites:

Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, Inc 

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Image Sources: The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

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