All gorilla subspecies are critically endangered and threatened by habitat loss, disease, poaching and conflict with humans. This is made critically worse by the living conditions of people that are surrounding gorilla habitats. Among them is poverty, lack of social services and high human population growth rates. Mountain gorillas found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the Virunga Volcanoes in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo are numbering only less than 900.
Eastern Lowland gorillas found in DRC are less than 5,000 and western lowland gorillas found in DRC and other countries in Africa are over 100,000 and are considered to be critically endangered because of the devastating effects and disease outbreaks on their population. However the most endangered of the gorillas subspecies are the Cross River gorillas, found in Nigeria and Cameroon numbering to about 300.
Threats – Who are gorillas enemies? Are Gorillas Predators? How do gorillas protect themselves?
Silverback gorillas were not even known to exist until 1902.Today, their habitat is being destroyed when people use the land for farming and the trees for fuel. Gorillas are also killed by poachers and sometimes get caught in poacher’s snares meant for other animals. The Silverback Gorilla is the most endangered species of Gorilla.
The greatest threat to Mountain Gorillas is the encroachment of growing villages around them. There had been a slash and burn mentality and it was hard to see how large tracks of land should be left for Gorillas, it is through an educational process by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and cash incentives to the community through tourism that the gorillas in Uganda are not as threatened by poachers as they might be in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
They are also threatened by diseases that humans may bring to the park that is why Uganda Wildlife Authority has strict rules in place to prevent the spreading of disease from humans to Mountain Gorillas.
For reasons unknown, Mountain Gorillas that have been studied appear to be naturally afraid of certain reptiles. Infants, whose natural behavior is to chase anything that moves, will go out of their way to avoid chameleons and caterpillars. Koko, the western lowland female gorilla trained in sign language, is able to understand more than 1,000 signs based on American Sign Language, and understand approximately 2,000 words of spoken English, is afraid of crocodiles and alligators, even though she was born in captivity and has never seen them. They are also afraid of water and will cross streams only if they can do so without getting wet. Dian Fossey observed and noted the Mountain Gorilla’s obvious dislike of rain, as well.