Causes of Death among Mountain Gorillas In The Wild
Mountain gorillas is one of the world’s most endangered specie of primates and severely affected by human diseases. Only 880 gorillas left in the world, found in the Virunga chain of mounrain ranges shared among Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo. These are the only destinations where one can book a gorilla safari to see these gentle giants in the natural setting. Mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda takes place in Volcanoes National park, Uganda has bwindi and Mgahinga National parks and DR Congo has Virunga National Park. A 2 day gorilla trek Rwanda is among the most popular package in Volcanoes N.P while a 3 day gorilla safari Uganda is the top selling in Bwindi National Park.
Gorillas can get infected with most diseases suffered by human beings that are why the tourists are always advised to as far away from the animals as possible- 7 meters a way. In the distribution range of the mountain gorillas, the climate is wet and cold, which the gorillas are not optimally adapted to. Respiratory tract diseases, particularly pneumonia, are the most frequent cause of death in mountain and low land Gorillas.
Gorillas only rarely have teeth cavities. Mountain gorillas in particular almost never suffer from it, as their food contains very little fruit and hence little sugar. Instead, in the mountain gorillas bad tartar leads to periodontitis, dissolving of the jaw bones and finally to the loss of teeth.
Most free-ranging gorillas have parasites, mainly intestinal parasites like protozoan or worms. Some of these parasites affect humans and gorillas equally, others specialize in gorillas. Various malaria parasites also affect gorillas, but usually they are different species than those that affect humans.
Some Gorillas hurt themselves when they get entangled in a snare with a hand or foot. The wound can get infected and the gorilla may even die from this injury.
In another tragic blow to the mountain gorilla population, a pregnant female gorilla named Samehe in the Nkuringo family group in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park died on March 26 after suffering a serious head wound. It is thought she had sustained the wound from another mountain gorilla, and although the vets with the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Program intervened multiple times, she never fully recovered and died this week.
Ebola virus is extremely lethal for humans and other great apes including Gorillas. Recorded outbreaks of the Ebola virus since 2000 might have claimed thousands of gorillas in Africa. It is unclear how the disease is spread but likely through the butchering and handling of primate bush meat. Mountain gorillas have not yet been affected. The conservation implications of Ebola virus are significant since past outbreaks have occurred mainly in remote protected areas that were the stronghold for gorilla protection.