World Gorilla Day: 2.7% of its population is lost each year due to deforestation and poaching

80 percent of gorillas live outside protected areas affected by growing demand for raw materials that are extracted from the forests where they live, according to the WWF, which warns that each year around 2.7 percent of their specimens are lost.

On the occasion of the celebration of World Gorilla Day, which is celebrated this Saturday, September 24, the NGO explains that the main risks for the 360,000 gorillas that currently exist are the deforestation for timber or land suitable for agriculture, mining, and oil and gas prospecting as well as poaching that corners the species in order to sell its meat clandestinely in luxury restaurants.

The NGO denounces that the young are sold alive and the adult specimens are hunted for their commercialization of their meat, illegally chopped in clandestine markets and luxury restaurants. Likewise, poaching of adult males for rituals persists, as macabre products such as ashtrays made from the hands of stuffed gorillas can even be found for sale.

In actuality there are 360,000 are spread between two species, with four subspecies living in Central Africa. The most abundant, the western lowland gorillas (gorilla gorilla gorilla) inhabit the forests of Western Equatorial Africa, along with fewer than 300 Cross River gorillas (G.g. diehli), listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Grauer’s eastern gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri), which lost more than 70 percent of their population in the last 25 years. Finally, between the Bwindi (Uganda), Virunga (RD Congo) and Volcanoes (Rwanda) national parks, there are just over a thousand mountain gorillas (G. b. beringei).

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On the occasion of World Gorilla Day, the NGO highlights its “relentless” fight against the illegal trafficking of the species, its meat and young and to restore habitats and create protected spaces and ecological corridors as well as promoting its conservation among local communities and sustainable tourism or with training for reserve guards.

As a result of these efforts, the mountain gorilla is recovering after decades of warfare and intense persecution by poachers, who killed entire groups of gorillas and their families to steal the young. Currently, they have 1,063 specimens, to which were added 24 offspring that were born in the Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda) in 2021.

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