Gorilla poaching is the illegal hunting, shooting, harming and killing of gorillas within their habitats. Gorilla poaching is one of the major reasons the number of gorillas in the wild is low compared to other wild animals and the reason gorillas remain endangered especially the mountain gorillas.
Human beings are the only known poachers of gorillas and other animals and they are usually hunting the gorillas in their habitats for several reasons. In the times past, people would poach animals for business purpose, domestic uses and sometimes for prestige of being able to kill a huge animal. The reasons for poaching have not really changed since then by have evolved and expanded to more since then. The reasons for poaching now include:-
- Commercial reasons: Some parts of the gorillas are of a very high value on the black market, so when someone sells either one of the parts they are guaranteed to get quick money right away. Though the meat of the gorilla is the most sold on the black market. Most people are driven to these extremes because of poverty and lack of knowledge among other things.
- Food: Gorilla meat is eaten in some communities as food, so people will kill the gorillas for a meal. And especially in the times of famine, people will not hesitate to kill for food.
- Cultural and traditional rituals: some people kill the gorillas for cultural and traditional rituals. Different cultures have different beliefs about gorillas and their parts or blood can do for them and for those reasons, people will not think twice about killing a gorilla for their gain.
- Land and settlement area: Because of human factors like war, displacement, natural calamities, people are always in such of land for settlement and for that reason they will kill gorillas to chase them away from the area so they can settle in the land.
- Prestige: In the recent years this has not really been a major reason but in some hunting communities hunters still such for strong and huge animals like gorillas to kill for community status.
- Self-defence: Though gorillas are quite peaceful animals, some people claim they have met rough gorillas and they kill them in self-defence.
Even with all these reasons poaching is still illegal and will remain illegal for a long time as far as wild life conservation goes. Poachers when caught are supposed to be punished according to the law and punishing them is supposed to teach public a lesson not to poach gorillas or the consequences of gorilla poaching.
Poachers use different methods to get to the different animals for gorillas they use mainly traps and spears or really strong machinery that can take the gorillas out in a minute. Also most poachers will track the gorillas and attack the gorilla while it’s alone without the other members of their family.
In the recent years, there has been more sensitization on gorilla conversation and this has greatly has helped in the reduction of poaching in most gorilla habitats. Some of the conservation initiatives for mountain gorillas include mountain gorilla trekking where people pay to come into the gorilla habitat and see the gorillas. The proceeds from the mountain gorilla trekking experiences support the communities around the habitats and this encourages the communities to support the conservation of the gorillas.
Gorillas in East Africa are found in Rwanda and Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. All these countries have mountain gorillas in natural habitats and people can visit the habitats all through the year to experience the mountain gorillas.