Gorilla Conservation in Virunga

Main Reasons why Gorillas are Poached

Hunting of the gorillas is one of the biggest threats to their existence and this is why they are endangered species.

There about 900 mountain gorillas left in the world and this number is shared between Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC. There has been a lot of awareness to save the gorillas but poaching is one of the biggest hindrances.

Gorillas in all the three countries have been put under maximum government supervision in a bid to save them from extinction. However despite all these efforts, the is still illegal hunting.

There are several reasons why people poach and kill the gorillas and here are some of them.

To sell their meat.

There has been a lot of wildlife trade in West and central Africa for bush meat to Europe. Most people do kill the animals like gorillas to earn revenue due to absolute poverty in the area.

The government has however tried to give back a percentage of proceeds from tourism to the locals to encourage them conserve these gorillas.

While African villagers can consume gorillas meat, sending it to other countries like the United States is a more lucrative option. Obviously, this is also illegal, but in some bizarre circles, the consumption of such meat can mean status.

For Private collections or as “trophies”.

Most people keep the dead gorillas as trophies to show off their wealth or power. There is no scientic reason or educational but people just want them for pride.

There are people who capture the gorillas and keep them in private zoos as pets. The gorillas eventually die due to the difference in the conditions.

To sell parts of their bodies.

Other people hunt the gorillas to keep their body parts or use them as medicine as local witch doctors give it as a remedy for magic. The effectiveness has not been scientifically proven though.

The toll of poaching on all species and subspecies is very high. For example, killing mountain gorillas and Cross River gorillas is brutal, because their populations are small, their birth rate is low, and the area where they live is extremely limited.

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