Challenges to African Gorilla Population
Gorilla trekking is the major tourist activity in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The activity earns a lot of foreign exchanges to the mentioned nations especially Uganda and Rwanda. DR Congo’s political instabilities hinder smooth running of gorilla tourism in the country but the destination has big gorilla groups in Virunga National Park. However, mountain gorillas are endangered and their population is highly affected b the following;
Political unrest in Democratic Republic of Congo has greatly reduced the number of Mountain Gorillas – seasonal rebel attacks in the order of the day and in the process of chasing them, the DR. Congo army exchange fire bullets with the rebels which some times kill Gorillas in Virunga national Park. Some times rebels do malicious killing of Gorillas to disorganize the country’s economy – that is why tourism in Democratic Republic of Congo is ragging behind among the three countries.
Malicious killing of Gorillas by the local people – some people claim that Gorillas are a threat to the people in the nearby communities – thinking they will kill people, destroy their crops among others so, they find it better to isolate them by killing.
Ignorance of the local people – In the past, responsible bodies in Uganda, Rwanda and DR. Congo did little in sensitizing people about the importance of Gorillas to the economies of their countries. The good news today is that, there are local sensitization campaigns going on in all destinations, aiming at informing the local communities about how they benefit from Rwanda tours especially gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park. In this way, the will join the struggle to conserve the gorillas and their natural habitat.
Rampant poaching also reduced the number of Gorillas in their natural habitat. Some people set traps to catch Gorillas and other animals.
Hunting of Gorillas for food – it is believed that some tribe in Democratic Republic of Congo do eat Gorillas. In the process, the number of Gorillas reduces.
Catastrophes or natural calamities like volcanic eruption, floods, and strong winds among others – the 2002 volcanic eruption in Democratic Republic of Congo contributed to the decline of Gorilla population in Virunga region. The eruption of Nyiragongo did not only kill Gorillas but even some few people and their properties perished.
Weak government laws towards the protection of wildlife – some government laws are weak to protect the lives of wild animals and birds where by some poachers are not given serious punishments to curb the habit.
Diseases like Ebola, Cough among others have greatly killed Gorillas while in their natural habitats. In the past, some people go trek gorillas with out advance medical check ups which increased the transmission of diseases from man to Gorillas.
The increasing numbers of predators like Leopard and Python among others. Such predators kill Gorillas leading to the decline in the number of Gorillas.
Fights amongst Gorillas in their natural habitat – during power struggle, male gorillas fight to overthrow others in order to take control of a given Gorilla family. In the fighting process, some weak Gorillas die leading the reduction in the number of Gorillas.