5 reasons Why We Should Conserve Eastern Lowland Gorillas

Are you a primatologist or conservationist? Did you know that the Eastern Lowland gorillas are getting extinct in the wild today? Do you know the significance of saving the lowland gorillas from extinction?

Gorilla trekking in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is incomparably one of the most thrilling and sought after primate safari adventures by trekkers in the world. Amazingly, both the rare mountain gorillas and the Lowland gorillas are all confined within the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which makes it one of the most exceptional destinations anyone on African safari should pay a visit.

Whereas mountain gorillas and the Eastern Lowland gorillas are equally at the risk of extinction in the wild but little has been done to save the lowland gorillas today. Currently, there are fewer than 5000 individuals of Eastern Lowland gorillas left in the world compared to over 17000 individuals that featured 15 years ago and this represents about 80 percent decrease in the last 2 (two) decades. This makes them one of the rarest primates that are at the verge of extinction in the world.

The Grauer’s gorillas also popularly known as the Eastern Lowland gorillas are only thriving in Kahuzi Biega National Park and Maiko National Park, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Given drastic reduction in the number of these special apes rather than increasing, there is need for more support in form of funds to facilitate the work of park rangers in ensuring that intense protection is given to these unique apes and their habitats as well as facilitate research and monitoring activities which intends to find out more on their population, threats and in the long run guide in developing the best measures to conserve them in the wild.

The practice will help to curb down most of the intense threats that have impacted on the lives of not only the mountain gorillas but also Eastern Lowland gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo some of which include the insecurity, poaching, forest degradation (habitat loss), infectious diseases and many more. Equally, enormous population of other wildlife species have also been killed especially elephants, chimpanzees, buffaloes and many more mainly to offer bush meat to miners and militias in the DR Congo jungle.  And in the long run these endangered species will get extinct in the wild.

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has been working towards saving the Lowland gorillas right from 2012 and is conserving the forest where these endangered apes thrive. About 2 (two) tracking teams are always monitoring the gorilla habitat each year plus the 3rd tracking team that has also joined and at times the fourth team is hired to add on the already tracking team.

Given the fact that most of these gorillas are not familiar to human presence and should be left without being habituated just for their own safety, Dian Fossey trackers monitor them at one day’s distance with the help of nest sites, footprints, food remains and various measures to find out more about existence, population, travel paths and any other significant information.

Also local communities particularly the traditional landowners have been encouraged to engage in protection of these endangered species. Members are hired from the adjacent local communities and on top of employment, community development efforts are also due to be initiated especially small scale sustainable farm projects to assist reduce malnutrition and bush meat hunting. With these measures, protection of the Lowland gorillas will be successful.

Donations to charities working to protect the rare mountain gorillas helped to finance their conservation and today many visitors are seen flocking into the Virunga Mountain ranges mainly to track these impressively beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. Due to this, mountain gorillas are a few primates whose population is slowly increasing in the world although their number still needs more attention in the jungles of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In the same spirit, the Eastern Lowland gorillas equally deserve to be protected so as to benefit not only the current generation but also the future generations. About 270 individuals of eastern lowland gorillas are left in Kahuzi Biega National Park, DR Congo and the park features as the only spot in the world where visitors can catch a glimpse of these unique species while in their natural habitat.

In conclusion, there is need for collective efforts across stakeholders to ensure that peace and security prevails in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ensuring this will help save not only the rare mountain gorillas or the Eastern Lowland gorillas but also other wildlife species and their natural habitat for more generations to come. More programs necessary to ensure that illegal hunting, deforestation and any form of encroachment are prevented in such important protected areas.

What do you think?

Written by Mike Bisho

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