Save the Africa glory, the Mountain Gorillas

  • October 10, 2016


Regarded as the second largest continent of the world, Africa boasts of a rich diversity of wildlife and landscapes. Its endless landscape provides homage to large predators roaming around the grasslands where herds of grazing herbivores have also found their habitat. Known as the originator of human life, Africa is home to many of the world’s best treasured and most enthralling animals, as well as to some of its most endangered species like Mountain Gorillas (gorilla beringei beringei)

Paralleled to their other primates, these gorillas have dense fur which enable them to survive in temperatures below zero degree Celsius. Just like humans, their height ranges between 5-6 ft and they can weigh up to 180kgs.They are usually vegetarian and socially and emotionally, they are active just like humans. The male gorillas are popularly called as ‘silverbacks’ because of the extending silver hair lining on their back. Their territory lies high up in mountain woods and bamboo forests of east and central Africa, which are situated at an altitude up to 2,500-4,000 m.

Territorial Region

As per World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), 480 mountain gorillas have their habitation in the Virunga Mountains, a chain of volcanoes in East Africa, along the northern border of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda. A census report in 2011 recorded 400 gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. The remaining live in the Mgahinga National Park and the Volcanoes National Park.

Threat to their Habitat

Since 1902, deforestation, wars, hunting, increased poaching, charcoal making, oil and gas exploration, growing human settlement and illegal wildlife trade, the population of mountain gorillas has undergone several threats. These challenging situations today bring this species on the verge of extinction.According to a survey report by the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature, one of WWF’s partners, large areas of the Virunga National Park have been demolished by groups of people from Rwanda and DRC to create agricultural and pastoral land.In 2004, illegal settlers cleared 3,700 acres of gorilla forest in the Park.As more and more of humans have invaded their terrains, they tend to be struggling with treacherous and sometimes lethal conditions, hiding up in the mountains to evade such challenges.

The Story Continues

With so much territorial invasions by their counterparts, these gorillas have become exposed to human borne diseases or ailments. Their low immunity and unfamiliar conditions put them under lifethreatening health conditions.

A Ray of Hope

To secure gorillas from the uncertainties of hunger, life-threats and desperation, WWF took measure to guide locals about their importance. They are regarded as a national treasure and it is the need of the hour to eliminate hunting in protected areas. Their extinction will disturb the ecological balance in the food chain and also thwart the vegetation growth in the forest. WWF teamed with Congolese musician team and as a gorilla conservation tool, a song was recorded in the local language. It was distributed in Virunga landscape and in the Congo Basin where the message has taken root as it spilled out of local radio stations, in homes, at schools and on the streets.

‘International Gorilla Conservation Programme’ (IGCP) is a joint initiative of the ‘African Wildlife Foundation’ (AWF), Fauna and Flora International (FFI), and WWF which were started in 1991 with the aim of:

Improving livelihoods

Encouraging sustainable use of resources

Tackling other local issues via a range of community initiatives

Influencing attitudes of local people for conservation at all levels and reduce the threats facing the national parks, forests and wildlife

Increasing conservation efforts like reforestation, anti-poaching patrols and raising environmental awareness among local people have marked an improvement in theirpopulation. WWF census report shows that their population has grown from 620 individuals in 1989 to around 880 individuals today.

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