Countries where gorillas live that is Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo have come together in partnership with local people and international conservation organizations to put up strong conservation policies and measures that can help to protect and conserve gorillas. This saw a legally binding agreement called the gorilla agreement where 10 countries have agreed and created solutions to reduce threats and conserve gorillas through strategies including -: Protection of gorilla habitats through effective trans-boundary management, Supporting local communities living near gorilla national parks through development projects and alternative resources and Putting to an end poaching and illegal trade of gorillas or their products. Protection of gorilla habitats has became effective when gorilla national parks were gazetted and transformed into eco tourism destinations and had the ranger based monitoring systems implemented to keep on monitoring gorillas by the park rangers and guides. In the process of conserving mountain gorillas, the other subspecies of eastern and western gorillas in DRC have also received conservation attention including other wildlife that share habitats with mountain gorillas which has made diversity of wildlife relevant besides gorillas.
Due to the genetic similarity between humans and mountain gorillas, gorillas are susceptible to many of the same infectious diseases that affect people. Mountain gorillas are also immunologically naïve to some diseases, meaning they are particularly susceptible to certain human diseases because of their historic isolation from people. Research conducted by the Gorilla Doctors and other scientists has proven that mountain gorillas have died as a result of infections that originated in people. Infectious disease, after trauma, is the leading cause of death in mountain gorillas. The most common infection is respiratory disease, which can range from mild colds to severe pneumonia. To protect gorillas from such infections, the national park authorities ask that anyone feeling sick or running a fever to not trek gorillas.
In order to reduce the risk of disease transmission and to avoid disturbing the gorillas’ natural behavior, the Gorilla Doctors have worked with national park authorities to establish the rule of staying 7 meters (21 feet) or more from the gorillas at all times. The gorillas themselves, especially young ones don’t know the rules and may approach humans, but tourists should make sure they stay away and avoid touching the animal if possible. The 7-meter rule should be observed at all times, even when gorillas leave the national park and venture on to property owned by tourist lodges and camps in order to reduce diseases.
Donate to Conservation organisations
One of the most effective ways to help mountain gorillas is to donate money to organizations working on the ground to conserve the species. Numerous organizations including MGVP have spent decades finding effective methods for protecting mountain gorillas, and most rely on grants and donations to fund their work. When donating your money to support any cause, it’s important to evaluate the organization you’re considering supporting to determine how successful the group is in carrying out its mission. You should get to know what methods do such organizations use to accomplish their stated goals. This is when you can’t afford to make significant personal donation or travel to Africa.
Anyone can make a difference for the gorillas by telling their friends, family, and colleagues about the mountain gorillas and the efforts being made to save them. Remember that even though mountain gorillas are critically endangered, their story is a positive one! Mountain gorillas are the only subspecies of non-human great ape growing in number. Fewer than 250 animals were counted in the mid-80s when Dian Fossey was researching the gorillas but today the population numbers nearly 800 animals. This species has a fighting chance for survival if you continue to work to address conservation challenges. This can be done by telling everyone the importance of conservation and protecting the endangered species.
Go Gorilla Trekking
Explore the area with other activities as well. Don’t rush to come and track the gorillas and then leave at once. Take your time and spend one or two days extra to discover the beauty of the surroundings. The revenue earned is further incentive for the government and local communities to protect the habitat of the mountain gorillas. Therefore your stay during your gorilla safari in Africa contributes a lot to not only the protection of the great apes but also in improving the livelihoods of the local people.
Don’t Buy Animal Products
Don’t buy products made with wild animal parts. Gorillas often get caught in poachers’ snares set for other animals in the forest. Furthermore, poachers’ very presence in the forest disturbs the environment and increases the risk of zoonotic disease transmission. While the main purpose of poaching is to obtain bush meat, wild animal skins, bones, and ivory may be used in crafts and other items sold to tourists. If you have any doubt about a product’s origins, don’t buy it. And certainly, in the rare instance you may see or hear of someone selling a live wild animal, report it to the national park authorities.
Mountain gorillas are listed as critically endangered by the international union for conservation of nature because of the fact that their numbers left in the wild are shrinking. Today the Worldwide Fund for nature (WWF) estimates about 880 individuals surviving only in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
In conclusion, gorilla conservation requires both local and international support; awareness building, strong law enforcement and conservation policies that not only protect gorillas but also motivate people including tourists to understand hoe gorillas should be protected and conserved. Educative programs about the health of gorillas as well as health of people and environmental awareness are such endless important issues that keep highlighting the need for continued conservation efforts to save mountain gorillas.