Why Mountain Gorillas Were Going Extinct

Why Mountain Gorillas Were Going Extinct

Decades ago, Mountain Gorillas were close to extinction due to a number of reasons that i will talk about later in the article.

Its was through conservation that gorillas managed to increase in numbers. In 2018, mountain gorillas were scrapped off the endangered list by IUCN as their numbers had surpassed 1000.

This success was due to a number of factors with one of them being gorilla trekking. When you trek gorillas, you give back to them. The money used for purchasing gorilla permits is instead used to conserve these primates.

So why were Mountain Gorillas close to extinction?

Lets try looking at some of the common factors that pushed this great ape species to near extinction. I will try to be as broad as i can.


Mountain Gorillas have only 1 predator and that is Leopards. Much as there are no leopards in their habitats, gorillas are afraid of them.

The size and weight of Mountain Gorillas scares away so many animals that would like to prey on them. Gorillas are very strong.

Its only on a few occasions when Leopards have preyed on gorillas.

Loss of Habitat

The biggest cause of gorilla extinction is loss of habitat. A lot of forest degradation and clearance has been going on of late due to population rise.

Humans degrade forests every day to build their homes which scales down the territory of gorillas. Some of them cut forests to get firewood or clear land for agriculture.

The need for new infrastructure like roads has also let to clearance of forests.


Humans poach gorillas for several reasons and some of them include food, bush meat and illegal trade of meat and traditional medicine.

The cases of poaching gorillas for food has dropped gradually. Gorillas are being hunt down by snares that are set to catch animals like Antelopes, bush pigs and other animals. These snares injure them and kills them at times.

However, the act of capturing gorilla babies still remains a big threat.

Infectious Diseases

Mountain Gorillas share over 98% of human DNA and this makes them prone to the same diseases that humans suffer from. To make it worse, these apes have not developed the necessary immunity yet.

When a gorilla gets exposed to a virus or illness; however harmless it is to humans, it can wipe out an entire troop with little chance of recovery. In the 90s, an Ebola outbreak led to death of so many primates including mountain gorillas.

A portion of mountain gorillas have already contracted skin illnesses like scabies and other respiratory illnesses which can be spread other groups easily as they interact.


This has been so common in Congo for decades. Civil unrest has been a great threat to gorillas especially in DRC’s Virunga National Park.

Gorillas can sense danger from miles away and will try to take cover in most cases. In some cases, they have tried to depend themselves by fighting back which has led to their death.

A big thanks goes to several conservation programs and people who have gone gorilla trekking in the past. The number of gorillas has now surpassed 1000 and they are predicted to grow more in numbers with time.

So do you want to continue saving gorillas from extinction? Book your gorilla safari today with any of these gorilla trekking companies.

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