Gorilla threat – As humans have moved into areas near mountain gorillas, they need clearing land for agriculture and livestock. Even land within protected areas isn’t safe from clearing—in 2004, for instance, illegal settlers cleared 3,700 acres of gorilla forest in Virunga Park led to Gorilla threat in Africa.
Gorillas that inherit contact with humans are often susceptible to human diseases, which gorillas experience in additional severe forms. Mountain gorillas can even die from the cold. However, studies have found that mountain gorillas that are regularly habituated with researchers and tourists have survived better than unvisited gorillas; they enjoy the greater protection available in those areas and from regular monitoring. Increased survival is additionally largely thanks to better veterinary care of sick and injured gorillas.
Inside the gorilla habitat in Virunga National Park, people harvest charcoal for use as a fuel source in cooking and heating. This charcoal production—an illegal, multi-million dollar industry—has destroyed gorilla habitat.
There is little to no direct targeting of mountain gorillas for bushmeat or pet trade, but they will be caught and harmed by snares set for other animals.
The war in Rwanda within the early 1990s and years of civil unrest within the Democratic Republic of Congo has sent waves of refugees into the region around the Virunga Mountains parks that are home to quite half the Gorilla gorilla beringei population, resulting in poaching and destruction of gorilla habitat. And parts of the park inhabited by gorillas are appropriated by rebels, making survey and conservation work difficult and dangerous. Since 1996, 140 Virunga rangers have been killed in the line of duty.
It is no exaggeration to mention that the Virunga Landscape is understood the maximum amount for its famed mountain gorillas because it is for an extended and bloody conflict that has taken a toll on millions of people. The challenge inspires people to save an irreplaceable natural treasure like the gorilla when they face hunger, desperation, and even death.