Threat to Western lowland gorillas
Threat to Western lowland gorillas: The biggest threat to the Western lowland gorillas is the Humans. The western lowland gorillas are estimated to be the biggest in numbers as compared to the other gorilla subspecies. There are about 360,000 individuals left in the world which is three times more than the mountain gorillas estimated at 1,060 individuals in the world.
Human settlement is growing at a fast rate which implies the humans getting closer to the gorilla’s habitats and this tends to facilitate the spread of diseases that can be passed on from humans to the gorillas such as flu and cough. This comes as a big threat as gorillas have a weaker immunity to none as compared to humans especially in regard to these human infections. A gorilla catching the small flu can be a terrifying thing and can weaken the gorillas to near death as compared to humans that are able to build immunity and fight the flu naturally.
Leaving the transmission of diseases from humans to gorillas, poaching of the gorillas by the humans for bush meat is another common occurrence or to keep as pets has threatened the conservation and thriving of the western lowland gorillas. The fact that the western lowland gorillas can survive in captivity has also made them vulnerable to capture and be sold to zoos or the circus operators. The western lowland gorillas are also captured for local medicine or in sorcery activities as some of their body parts can be used in making charms. The gorillas in general are more threatened by poachers as compared to other primates like chimpanzees and monkeys.
The silverback gorilla will try to be the big man when poachers try to attack a member of the family, unlike the chimps who put their own life first in case of a poacher instead of defending the group. Usually, the baby gorillas are targeted by the poachers however the adults are always ready to fight until death to protect the young one. Poachers usually set booby traps or poison the gorillas to kill them once they feel threatened by their existence in the area.
One other threat to the conservation of the western lowland gorillas is habitat loss where humans are fully responsible. Humans tend to cut down the trees that are the homes for these gentle giants so as to get wood for personal use or drill the grounds in search of minerals creating mines. This destroys and degrades the natural resources of the area forcing the gorillas out of their natural habitat forcing them to reach the areas of human settlement and killed by people who find them threats to their farms.
Other than human interference, the western lowland gorillas’ growth is threatened by the global warming and attacks from the predator animals such as the leopards in search for prey for food, crocodiles when they are crossing rivers are usually harmed. Much more serious diseases also attack the gorillas such as Ebola where an outbreak can claim up to 30 percent of the living primates of the region. Global warming has affected the gorillas in a sense that temperatures have risen and yet the cold temperatures favor the western lowland gorillas.
A number of gorillas have been spotted on a gorilla trekking experience with wounds on their bodies from other predators or from fights or snares set up by poachers. Diseases like Ebola have the potential to wipe out the whole western lowland gorilla population as they are very social animals unlike the other sub species that tend to stay within their family.
The reason as to why the lowland gorillas are easily poached and faced with the above mentioned threats a lot is because of the countries in which they are inhabited. The western lowland gorilla is found in the countries such as Gabon, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo which have a high number of civil conflicts forcing people to hide in the forests and collide with the lowland gorillas. Also with such endless conflicts, the governments are weak and corrupt so these gorillas are not protected or given priority. The nature laws may apply however may not be as emphasized with such instability in these countries.
Where to visit the western lowland gorillas
There are a number of national parks in Eastern Africa where you can book yourself a western lowland gorilla trekking activity besides the numerous zoos. There is nothing compared to seeing the wildlife in their natural habitat.
- The Odzala National Park of Congo Brazaville
- Lefini Reserve in Congo Brazaville
- The Moukalaba-Doudou National park in Gabon
- Lope national park in Gabon
- Loango National park in Gabon
- Dzanga-Ndoki National park in the Central African Republic
- Monte Alen National Park in Equatorial Guinea
- Cabinda enclave in Angola
Trekking mountain gorillas is a strenuous activity as you will hike high terrains to get a chance with the mountain gorillas however trekking the lowland gorillas is considered more challenging as these move further into the forest so a lot of walking and long distances deeper into the forest is involved so be prepared for this and also it is not such a guarantee to see the lowland gorillas as it is for the mountain gorillas. This is mainly because the forests are big and deep and these gorillas move further up to the remote and virgin places of the forest unlike the mountain gorrilas that stay at the mountain slopes.