Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Mountain gorillas reduced by 75% in Central Africa

English
© ANSA

Rome, January 28 - The Italian chapter of the
international environmental organisation WWF said on Monday that
the mountain gorilla population in Central Africa has been
reduced by 75% over the last 10 years, making the primates
critically endangered.
Approximately 880 gorillas are surviving in the wild,
divided between the Virunga and Bwindi national parks that span
the border area of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of
Congo.
The gorillas are threatened by a combination of poaching,
regional conflict, destruction of their natural habitat and
capture for illegal pet trade.
According to the United Nations, if action to protect the
mountain gorilla is not taken the species risks extinction in
the next 10 years, WWF said.
The latest threat comes from oil industries, which have
bought concessions for oil exploration in about 85% of the park
of Virunga.
"Exploration and mining would have a catastrophic impact on
the local environment and its gorilla inhabitants," Isabella
Pratesi, director of international conservation policies for WWF
Italy said.
"Hectares of forest would be destroyed and new roads would
allow easy entry for poachers," Pratesi said.
A baby gorilla can be sold for between 15,000 and 40,000 US
dollars on the black market, while a hand sold as a trophy costs
around six US dollars and a kilogram of meat can run from a few
cents to a few dollars.
"Living in a healthy habitat, however, each gorilla can
earn approximately 25,000 US dollars per year for the tourism
industry, in total up to 54.4 million US dollars a year,"
Pratesi said.
Representatives from Italy's WWF will meet on Thursday
with Virunga park director Emmanuel De Merode in Bruxelles.

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