Help Save Mountain Gorillas!

Loss of mountain gorillas in the Virunga mountains

Ella D.

Population Problems For Gorillas In The Virunga Mountains

The mountain gorillas living in the Virunga Mountains are slowly dwindling in population. You might find yourself asking, what is the cause of this? The answer is humans. People have been cutting down trees in the gorilla’s habitat for charcoal, farmland, and housing. The area of living space is getting smaller and smaller each day. Also, if anyone goes in the forests, to cut a tree perhaps, there is a chance that they can spread an illness. Gorillas don’t have as strong of an immune system as people like me and you do. If just one gorilla gets an infection, the whole troop can eventually get it. Although, they can’t drive to the store and buy some medicine like people can. Both these reasons are a big cause of the problem, but by far the most devastating is poaching. Poaching has thankfully become less common, but people still hunt gorillas for meat or sale. If only humans thought more about the gorillas, then this problem wouldn’t be as bad as it is today.

Consequences Of The Extinction Of Gorillas

The mountain gorillas living in the Virunga Mountains are a very big part of the ecosystem. Their meals mostly consist of plants (and occasionally some small insects). They are the animals who keep the plants in check. If you all of a sudden plucked these giant animals from the forests, then the whole area would become completely overgrown. In addition, if the gorillas become extinct then it will throw off the food chain. The food chain is like one big loop, and it just keeps going around and around. What will happen if one big chunk is taken out? Other animals that used to rely on the gorillas as their food source will be forced to eat other, smaller animals. Because these animals are smaller, more will need to be eaten to satisfy the consumer. This might lead to that smaller animal's species to become extinct. The ecosystem needs every animal to do their job, and if the gorillas aren’t there to fulfill their job, who will take on that important role?
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Who Is Helping The Gorillas?

Thankfully, there are many people who are working toward the problem of the gorillas living in the Virunga Mountains. One of the programs that is doing this is the International Gorilla Conservation Programme. (IGCP) They are closely watching over the gorillas, and giving them the necessary treatment. Although, this organization is mostly working towards reducing people’s needs to go into the gorillas habitat. They have placed water-harvesting tanks in villages so there is no risk of anyone going near the gorillas and passing on an illness. However, the Senkwekwe center is more focused on caring for gorillas directly. They have created a forested space for the gorilla orphans to roam freely and happily. Also, this center has some of the most skilled gorilla doctors that help keep the animals healthy. Both these associations are helping a tremendous amount, and are spreading a lot of awareness.

How Can You Help?

Raising the gorilla population is thanks to the many institutions that have dedicated their time to this cause, and because of all the people who have donated to these institutions. In only 25 years the population has grown by 260 gorillas. Also, the numbers have increased by 14% in the past 12 years! That is more than 1% per year! The population is slowly growing, and hopefully more and more people will learn about this movement and the numbers will keep growing. You can help by spreading the word, adopting a gorilla, or donating to these great solution makers.
Adopt a gorilla from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund!

This video is about the benefits of adopting a gorilla. For more information, click on this link.

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Map Of Mountain Gorilla Range

This is an image of where the mountain gorillas are currently living. You can see this area better in the box in the lower left hand corner. Here, the red represents the range of the mountain gorillas. This range keeps getting smaller and smaller because of the habitat of destruction.

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Work Cited

"Mountain Gorilla." Mountain Gorilla. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.

"The Mountain Gorilla." The Mountain Gorilla. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.

"Mountain Gorillas." - WWF UK. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.

"The Official Website of Virunga National Park - Support Gorilla Orphans." Virunga National Park. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.

"Virunga Gorillas, Mountain Gorillas, Rwanda, Congo, Facts, Information, Photos - National Geographic." National Geographic. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.