By: Abigail Weintraub
While many species evolve over the years, others die away; this is part of the evolutionary process in nature. However, this becomes a problem when the extinction of species occurs at a rate that is substantially greater than the rate of evolution. Furthermore, biodiversity-related issues are being overshadowed by concerns regarding climate change. While people are busy trying to limit the use of fossil fuels and reduce their carbon footprint, many animals are indiscriminately killed and poached in the process. Studying various animal species can help us learn more about the fate of biological life.
Consider the mountain gorilla species. Back in 2008, the number of mountain gorillas in the wild was estimated to be 680. This number has escalated to 1,063, according to recent studies. This increase in population demonstrates that there is still hope for endangered species, but exactly did mountain gorillas begin to thrive again?
According to Andrew Seguya, “What has really brought mountain gorillas back from the brink of extinction is community engagement and cooperation.” One major part of mountain gorilla restoration is the conservation centers set up for tourists to visit and interact with real-life gorillas. This makes people feel a connection with the animals and feel like these gorillas are just like us. Why must we let them die off? This new question may have come to mind.
Conservationists have also removed snares that accidentally trap gorillas and put poaching laws into effect to protect the species. Since then, this gorilla species has been gaining global attention. Scientists are raising money from mountain gorilla tours and community members are being hired to help out. There is no need to harm the feeble species, especially as a bond forms between gorilla and human being.
The rise and fall of the mountain gorilla species provides hope that the same thing can happen to other species. Preserving these gorillas doesn’t just save the one species; species that live in the same environment will also be protected. Maintaining a connection with the living creatures around us can create a better outcome for the future.
“Ten years ago the question was: Will mountain gorillas survive?” says reporter Behm Masozera. “Today, the question is: How can we sustain, even increase, the current population?”