Known Size of Population
The mountain gorilla is a critically endangered species (CR species) and is need desperate need of a number of conservation efforts. The mountain gorilla exists both along the coasts of eastern Africa and also in South-East Asia and throughout China. Currently, the size of the population is just under 1000 at 880 respective mountain gorillas (AFG, Para 3). This has been reduced significantly over the last century from over 10,000 known mountain gorilla species. Its known size of population is also concerning when considering that it is divided amongst its two primary habitats in both Africa and Asia and only recently, have conservation efforts increased this number from as low as 200 mountain gorillas up to 5 years ago (AFG, Para 7).
Recent Changes in Population
As stipulated earlier in this paper, the known size of the mountain gorilla population has significantly increased from 200 individuals to has high as 880 individuals in the last year (2015). This also contrasts known populations of the mountain gorilla 20 to 30 years ago, where their numbers were as high as 5,000 individuals. For example, in 2006 a consensus conducted by the World Wildlife Foundation determined that there were 360 individuals pertaining to the mountain gorilla species and therefore highlighting its endangered species (CR) classification and the requirement for conservation efforts on a global basis prior to them becoming extinct (AWF, Para 3).
As also previously stipulated in this paper, the distribution of mountain gorillas has mainly been centered throughout the eastern coast of Africa and throughout Asia. Current conservation efforts have broadened this distribution of the mountain gorilla and the majority of their current 880 individuals are spread throughout over 1000 zoos and specially designed centers that preserve endangered species (AWF, Para 5). Additionally, Zoos in such nations as Australia, the United States and New Zealand have attempted to assimilate the mountain gorilla into their respective habitats in attempts to not only preserve the mountain gorilla but ensure that it can survive with little assistance.
The natural habitat of the mountain gorilla is of high attitude and typically throughout the Albertine Rift and volcanoes throughout eastern Africa and Asia. Their habitat is primarily centered in high density forests with an abundance of trees and very cold, humid climates. Particularly at the bottom of these forests and ridges, the mountain gorilla thrives as it is able to transit from tree to tree and gain its basic nutrients from the plant life in the area. Along the volcanic ridges, there is still an abundance of forest that allows the mountain gorilla to thrive in colder environments. Their thick fur coat is sufficient for survival in these high altitude and extensively cold areas throughout Asia and Eastern Africa.
Known Threats (Immediate and in the Future)
The Mountain Gorilla has a number of known threats both immediate and futuristic in nature. The first is by hunters in Asia and Africa who poach Mountain Gorillas for their thick fur coat. Poachers have contributed significantly to the almost global wipeout of the harmless Mountain Gorilla species. Poachers still remain an immediate threat to their small population and a reason why most Mountain Gorillas are harbored in large zoos and rehabilitation centers for endangered species. The second main threat and immediate threat to the Mountain Gorilla is disease (AFG, Para 2). In these high altitude and forest intense areas, transmission of disease throughout livestock and between humans and animals has threatened the existence of the Mountain Gorilla. One of the other mainly forgotten threats to the population of the Mountain Gorilla is climate change and how it is impact these high altitude habitats. Substantial increases in temperature throughout their local habitats combined with major logging projects have significantly altered their habitat and main areas of development and Mountain Gorillas have been unable to survive or move to colder and more forest induced areas (WWF, Para 6). The development of human communities and conflict between several communities throughout their habitat have also resulted in mass killings of the Mountain Gorilla. These known threats can also be regarded as future threats to the Mountain Gorilla as climate change continues to unbalance the earth’s climate regardless of location and the particular habitat in focus.
Current Conservation Efforts
Current conservation efforts for the Mountain Gorilla have focused mainly on the actions of local and regional zoos and rehabilitation centers. Active monitoring and tagging of known Mountain Gorilla populations have allowed biologists and conservationists to prevent any further harm to this endangered species. Constant wildlife patrols have attempted to prevent poachers from wiping out Mountain Gorilla species whilst joint ventures from African and Asian wildlife organizations have ensured that their habitats, or the habitats that have been left untouched, are further preserved on a local and regional scale currently and in the future (WWF, Para 10). Community ventures and projects have also allowed younger generations to become concerned about the Mountain Gorilla.
Proposed Conservation Efforts that Could Help
There are some conservation proposals that could further conserve Mountain Gorilla populations. Extensive education programs on a global basis about endangered species in general may force young adults into rethinking their actions with regards to hunting and poaching Mountain Gorillas (WWF, Para 2). The use of media and other effective communication streams may also assist in further preserving current Mountain Gorilla populations.
Despite the extensive harm that has been caused to Mountain Gorilla populations in the past, current conservation efforts are helping to preserve their current populations and ensure that they thrive in the future along with thousands of other endangered species on a global basis.
- AFG. Mountain Gorilla. Animal Fact Guide, 2016, Web,
(17th April, 2016).
- AWF. Mountain Gorilla. African Wildlife Foundation, 2016, Web,
http://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/mountain-gorilla (17th April, 2016).
- WWF. Mountain Gorilla Overview. World Wildlife Foundation, 2016, Web,
http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/mountain-gorilla (17th April, 2016).