The Mountain Gorilla is critically endangered. So what? What does that really mean? Critically Endangered is the highest risk category assigned by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List for wild species. Critically Endangered means that a species’ numbers have decreased, or will decrease, by 80% within three generations.
As I stated in my earlier post. A cocktail of problems has led to the mountain gorilla’s terrible situation. The main ingredient being habitat loss. This has been caused by the unchecked spread of farming and logging into the gorilla’s natural forest habitat. In fact in the 60s the Virunga Conservation Area (VCA) of Rwanda’s National Park was reduced to half its original size for the production of Pyrethrum (insecticides). As a direct result the gorilla population had plummeted by the mid 70s.
The second ingredient in this cocktail is poaching. Mountain gorillas have historically had their hands, feet and heads prized as ornaments. Young gorillas are in demand as pets.
Lastly, the final ingredient in this nasty cocktail is that mountain gorillas live in areas that are very political unstable; Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have all been affected by war and civil unrest for decades.
The garnish on top of this vile cocktail is that the gorillas have become tourist attractions. This, perhaps, is no bad thing, bringing attention to the gorilla’s plight. However, the problem is that tourists have been passing on their colds and sniffles, which the gorillas haven’t the immune system to battle.
See the illustration in progress below. You can see the start of this illustration in my earlier post here.
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In Greek mythology, Halcyone and Ceyx were lovers who incurred the wrath of the god Zeus by mocking him and his wife. Angered, Zeus killed Ceyx.