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Threats to the Eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega

16 Aug
Kahuzi Biega National Park

Threats to the Eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega

Threats to the survival of Eastern Lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park

kahuzi biega national parkThe Famous Kahuzi biega national Park is located in Eastern Democratic republic of congo with the nearest Town being Bukvau , its known to the home for the endangered Eastern Lowland gorillas in the entire world. Kahuzi Biega National Park in congo is the only destination where visitors come from allover the world to explore the eastern Lowland gorillas.

Kahuzi Biega Eastern Lowland Gorillas are Set in both mountainous and lowland terrain, it is one of the last refuges of the rare species of Eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri), an endangered category under the IUCN Red List. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, inscribed in 1980 for its unique biodiversity of rain forest habitat and its eastern lowland gorillas.

Eastern lowland gorillas are critically endangered, although they face different threats.

Kahuzi Biega National Park Gorillas are closely related to humans, with similar anatomical and physiological features. This makes them vulnerable to many of the same diseases. Because the gorillas have not developed the necessary immunities, first time exposure to an illness or virus that is relatively innocuous to humans may devastate an entire population. Gorillas live in small groups that may never recover from a sudden fall in numbers brought on by disease. Any human contact is potentially harmful, even life-threatening  and its from this point that kahuzi Biega has gorilla trekking rules and regulations, Visitors to the park are advised to leave out Gorilla trekking  incase he or she is having some illness and the park will refund you the gorilla permit fee.

As gorillas are very sensitive to changes in their environment, the mere presence of humans can be a threat. Even in the Kahuzi biega national park gorillas are continually disturbed: cattle herds, loggers, collectors of grass and honey, smugglers and poachers are active in the national parks in spite of strict laws by the ICCN .

Poachers set traps, in particular wire snares, in order to catch duikers (forest antelopes). However, gorillas get into the snares too and often they don’t succeed in removing the wire. In such a case they can lose a hand or a foot, or even die from gangrene. Vets are sometimes able to remove the snares in those gorilla groups habituated to people.

The hunting pressure on Eastern Lowland gorillas is very high. They are still killed for their meat by the local human population, even if this is illegal. In addition, local hunters and farmers often kill gorillas because they raid the fields. One gorilla group can destroy the whole harvest.

Another problem is the increasing destruction of the Eastern Lowland gorillas’ habitat. The deforestation of the rain forests leads to the isolation of small forest islands, which the animals cannot leave any more because there is no adequate habitat close-by.

However, forests still are disturbed through timber harvest by logging companies and cleared to make way for cultivation. Roads, initially built to transport the timber, subsequently facilitate the settlement of the forest. In its turn, this leads to increased hunting to provide the workers with food and slash-and-burn cultivation.This was evidenced during the interaction with the local communities staying in the near by areas that was once park land, don’t miss to land on this kid of information during the guided nature walks in Kahuzi Biega National Park while on a Congo gorilla trekking tour book either through a tour operator or Kahuzi Biega National Park official Website.

Are Eastern Lowland Gorillas dangerous to people?

Generally, Eastern Lowland gorillas are not very shy  like the case for the mountain gorillas and reserved towards people as the habituation experience that was used by Adrien Deschryver in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park as he always looked in the eyes of silverback gorillas . They will attack only if they are surprised or threatened or if a person behaves in the wrong way.

If the human makes an unexpected movement, the silverback male can react with horrific roaring and bluff charges. This means that he runs straight to the victim with great speed and stops just in front of him, sometimes at a distance of only 1 m. If the person then behaves submissively by crouching down and looking  in the eyes of the gorilla, he has nothing to fear. However, if he runs away instead, the excited gorilla is provoked even further: He will follow the fugitive and bite him into the body part he can seize first, most frequently a leg or buttock. The result of such an attack usually is a deep wound.

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