GORILLAS IN THE NATIONAL PARK
In the national park the gorillas also live in groups of around 10-20 animals, including 6-8 adult females with their young or babies. The silverback pulls the group together and protects his family. The young are extremely keen to play with the babies of the group. They constantly try to lure them away from their mothers to go on discovery tour, high up in the canopy.
There are three species of gorillas: Mountain Gorillas, Eastern and Western Lowland Gorillas. Around 120 Gorillas are “on record” in Odzala. They were identified and named by the primatologists Dr. Magda Bermejo and German Illera who were setting up and are managing the gorilla project in Odzala.
THE LAST OF THEIR KIND?
The IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, has classified the Western Lowland Gorilla as a critically endangered species. Our relatives are in great danger. The worst case scenario is as follows: Within the next three generations up to 80% of the entire population will disappear. Hence it is all the more important for Odzala to remain a safe place for the animals living there.
THE GREATEST DANGERS
Western Lowland Gorillas have suffered exceptionally high levels of mortality, caused by hunting and Ebola epidemics. In some remote areas more than 90% of the population died from Ebola. In the Republic of Congo’s protected areas about 50% of gorillas feel victim to this disease. Unfortunately the dangers do not stop at national park borders. Most protected areas have serious poaching problems. Hunting and Ebola are both ongoing threats that are not yet mitigated. Every loss is dramatic, as gorillas are long-lived animals and their reproductive rates are very low.