Since Eyes on Apes has broadened its focus to include all great apes, I thought I would share some information about gorillas. There are four different sub species of gorilla: the Mountain gorilla, the Western Lowland gorilla, the Eastern Lowland gorilla (also known as the Grauer’s gorilla), and the Cross River gorilla. All sub species are endangered, but the Cross River and Mountain gorillas have the smallest populations, with numbers in just the hundreds. The Mountain gorillas are the sub species that were studied by the famed primatologist Dian Fossey, who observed gorillas in the Virunga Mountains before her tragic murder in 1985. Fossey was the Jane Goodall of the gorilla world. Recently, some good news came out of the protected areas surrounding the Mountain gorillas’ habitat: their population is rising! New census numbers reveal that populations have increased by nearly 100 gorillas since the last census, bringing the total number of Mountain gorillas to 880. This shows that the protection surrounding the forest and conservation efforts are working!
Though this is good news for one sub species of gorilla, the other three in the more lowland areas are in greater danger of human encroachment. As I mentioned in a post about the plight free-living chimpanzees, humans have logged for expensive woods in the middle of the African rainforest, creating logging roads that make it easier for hunters to kill the apes and sell their meat on the black market for the bushmeat trade. Coltan mining is another huge threat to gorilla habitat (coltan is the material used in LCD screens). The easiest way to take action for the gorillas in these areas besides donating to a conservation organization is to be a conscious consumer. Just like I mentioned with the plight of free-living orangutans, be aware of where your products you are purchasing are coming from. Recycle products with an LCD screen when you upgrade to a new device, or even if is broken – the parts can still be recycled. CSNW can even help you recycle your old cell phones!
Photo courtesy of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme’s Facebook page