Help save mountain gorillas!
Critically endangered Virunga Gorillas need your help!
Why are the gorillas in trouble?
There are many problems threatening gorillas in the Virunga mountains. An explorer named Captain Robert von Beringe found the mountain gorillas in the area we now call Virunga. Soon after, people started to not like gorillas because they were scared of them. Nowadays, people are more understanding about them, but there are still many threats. For example, since humans are so similar to gorillas genetically, they risk making an entire population of gorillas sick through a simple cold if they come into contact. And that cold can absolutely devastate gorillas due to the fact that they have much weaker immune systems. Also, while poaching of gorillas themselves are now less common than it was a few decades ago, they can still can get caught in traps set for other animals. And sometimes, people who want to use Virunga resources see gorillas as a threat, and murder them. Habitat loss is an important factor as well. Whether indirectly through climate change, and their habitat growing warmer, to directly through land being cleared for agriculture, it affects gorillas in both ways. Due to threats like these, the future of mountain gorillas in Virunga is uncertain.
A murdered silverback gorilla
The blue area is where mountain gorillas live, near their cousin, the eastern gorilla.
Why Mountain gorillas matter
You may not realize it, but Mountain gorillas are important to Virunga. Gorillas, being large grazers, are one of the most important parts of the food chain. They help keep the number of plants in the area down, which makes sure that plants don’t overwhelm the area. If they (THE PLANTS, OR THE GORILLAS? MAKE IT CLEAR.) go extinct, the balance of life would be disrupted and the ecosystem would suffer, as well as the people. Also, an important source of income for many locals in the Virunga area is gorilla tourism. A single gorilla will indirectly make over $2.5 million just through tourism. An example is carefully guided tours to help show how cool the gorillas are. When people took into account these factors, they realized that they had to help the gorillas of the Virunga mountains.
Anyone can make a difference
In Virunga, many different people from all walks of life are working day and night to help the mountain gorillas. When people think of gorilla protection, they usually think of people such as Diane Fossey and other gorilla heroes like her. But ordinary people are the ones that are really making the difference. For example, there is a gorilla orphanage center called the Senkwekwe Center that is the only place that cares for gorilla orphans. They live happy lives in a forest enclosure, and are cared for by the best gorilla vets in the world. But ordinary people from everywhere in the world are funding it, and that means you can, too! People are also risking their lives in order to guard the gorillas from murderers. Due to the help of people who are concerned about gorillas like you, the gorillas have increased in population by almost 20%.
The gorilla orphans of Senkwekwe are having fun with their savers!
Even though the gorillas situation has improved dramatically, they are still threatened from all angles. Fortunately, people have started to realize how important gorillas are. As I said before, their numbers have increased by almost 20%. And many dedicated people are helping to make sure that the numbers keep increasing. Locals are working to help save the forests from the increase of agriculture in the area. Rangers are risking their lives daily to help save gorillas from murder and poaching. And you can help them! There are many websites that allow you to adopt gorillas, make donations, help the families of killed rangers recover, and much more! But most of all you can spread the word that gorillas are important, and help your friends realize that we need to help the gorillas of the Virunga Mountains!
- Gorillas sleep in nests!
- 98% of our DNA is identical to that of a gorilla's
- The leader male of the gorillas is called a silverback
- The younger males are called blackbacks
- Silverbacks can be more than twice as heavy as a female
- Gorillas are the largest primate in the world
- Despite their scary looks, gorillas are almost entirely herbivorous
- Unlike many apes, gorillas live on the ground