The BBC has announced that up to two gorillas are killed and sold for bush meat each week in just one area of the Republic of Congo. The gorillas in question are Western lowland gorillas, which are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
The shocking news came from a study carried out by the NGO Endangered Species International, which has given much higher estimate for gorilla bush meat hunting than previously thought. They believe that up to 4% of the gorilla population the Kouilou area could be disappearing each month due to the high prices for their meat.
Chloe Hodgkinson, FFI’s resident expert on the Western lowland gorillas, commented on this latest study:
“Gorillas are badly affected by hunting. Not only are they very slow breeding, but their complex social system means the death of one group member may result in the indirect deaths of many more. To address this serious decline in wild gorilla populations across their entire range, we need to look at both direct causes, such as hunting and habitat loss, and indirect causes, many of which relate to human livelihood issues.”
FFI works to conserve Western lowland gorillas in Cameroon’s Dja reserve, a World Heritage Site. We are currently working to design an early warning system against poaching to reduce the threat from bush meat.