Endangered Spotlight: Gorilla

Western Gorilla / Gorilla gorilla
Current conservation status: Critically endangered
Population (estimate): 150,000 – 250,000

RedGazelle15 / Wikimedia Commons

The strong and intimidating western gorilla inspired us to name our Gorilla messenger bag after these large primates whose population has been in critical danger.

About

When “gorilla” is mentioned, what comes to your mind? Is it the movie monster King Kong? Perhaps it’s Nintendo’s video game character Donkey Kong. Maybe it’s even the infamous meme sensation Harambe. Whatever your first thought may be, gorillas are easily recognized throughout real life and media. They are considered to be the third closest living relatives to human with more than 95% of their DNA matching ours.

The western gorilla is a critically endangered species native to central Africa. Their population has been threatened by poaching, diseases and habitat destruction. In 2008, several African countries agreed to construct the Gorilla Agreement to conserve gorillas and their natural habitats.

Threats

  • Poaching – Although it is illegal to hunt gorillas, many poachers still illegally kill them for their meat, which is sold as bushmeat or “wildmeat.”
  • Diseases – Gorillas are vulnerable to many infectious diseases such as ebola, which can cause massive death outbreaks.
  • Habitat destruction – The natural habitats of gorillas have been destroyed for farms and plantations, most notably palm oil farms.

Conservation Efforts

  • Protected by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix I and in Class A of the African Convention
  • Dedicated protected areas
  • Forest and gorilla natural habitats maintenance

What You Can Do

Gorillas are the forefront of endangered species conservation and many organizations are fighting to protect these magnificent animals from becoming extinct. These groups not only have plenty of informative ways to learn more about gorillas, but they also offer opportunities to get involved in gorilla conservation.

Ryan Poplin / Flickr