The world’s largest ape, the Grauer’s gorilla, is on the verge of extinction.
This species, the biggest ape in the world, is only found in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where Cool Earth’s Lubutu partnership is located. It has now been upgraded to Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The change in the Grauer gorilla’s conservation status was announced last week at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii.
The decline in Grauer’s gorilla is mainly driven by illegal hunting for meat. Armed groups that set up mining camps resort to hunting gorillas. Civil unrest in some parts of the region also threatening their habitat.
“To see the Eastern gorilla – one of our closest cousins – slide towards extinction is truly distressing. We live in a time of tremendous change and each IUCN Red List update makes us realize just how quickly the global extinction crisis is escalating. Conservation action does work and we have increasing evidence of it. It is our responsibility to enhance our efforts to turn the tide and protect the future of our planet.”
Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General
But there is a silver lining. Not only is Grauer’s gorilla present in our Lubutu partnership, but seven families have been discovered.
The families of gorillas range in size from about five to seven individuals and they seem to be thriving.
There’s never been a better time to protect the homes of these magnificent apes.