Why are the Mountain Gorillas So Rare ?
There are so few mountain gorillas remaining for several reasons.
First, the size of their remaining habitat is rather small Bwindi impenetrable forest Uganda is only 330 kilometers squared and the Virunga volcanoes are 450 kilometres squared. These two small islands of forest are surrounded by some of the most densely populated rural areas of the world [200-400 people per kilometres squared], where people make their living through subsistence farming. The main threats to the gorillas are habitat destruction, poaching and disease.
The forest can be slowly degraded by people illegally harvesting trees or other forest products, which reduces it’s suitability for the gorillas.
People living around Bwindi and the Virunga do not eat the gorillas may get caught instead. In recent years poaching for the pet trade has been on the increase.
Diseases, either respiratory or parasitic, may be transmitted from humans to the gorillas, being in close contact with the gorillas greatly increases the risk of disease transmission. The guidelines for tourists are designed to protect both the gorillas and you from getting sick-so please follow them!