Mountain Gorillas

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Supposing you live in a normal street in a large city. If you were to hold a street party, and everybody in the street attended, there would be more people in the street than there are mountain gorillas left in the world.

Mountain gorillas are amongst the most critically endangered species in the world, numbering only around 600. About 300 live in the Virunga Volcano Region of Rwanda, The Congo and Uganda. Another 300 survive about 20 miles away within the Impenetrable Forest of Uganda.

Their entire world consists of 285 square miles of high-elevation rain forest in east central Africa. They are so endangered because poaching, habitat loss, and the effects of a long and bitter civil war which continues to rage in and around their habitat, have devastated their numbers.

Mountain gorillas are 97% identical in their DNA to human beings. They are our closest cousins, which means that they, like us, breed fairly slowly; are highly vulnerable until their teens; suffer from infection and disease; and have strong attachments to members of their own group. All of which makes their conservation a very slow process that takes enormous amounts of both time and money.

Dian Fossey, who is credited with first bringing the plight of the mountain gorilla to the public eye, said:

If human interference in the African rain forest continues unchecked, mountain gorillas will be extinct before the end of the next century.' Somehow, we have to stop this fear becoming a reality.

Now is the time to take action. See what you could do here.

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