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WLG in Gabon

The western lowland gorilla subspecies (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) will disappear within 25 years, or sooner, if nothing is done...They need our help!

Gorillas are a critically endangered species

One of four recognised gorilla subspecies, the western lowland gorilla is classified as critically endangered on the 2008 IUCN red list of threatened species, the highest threat category for any species. This could mean that 50 % of all western lowland gorillas could disappear within a decade, or that the entire subspecies will be decimated within three gorilla generations (approx. 66 years) or less without prompt action.

Geographic distribution of western lowland gorillas

Considered as likely regionally extinct from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the western lowland gorilla is found in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo.
Image by Nick Nichols   

Western lowland gorilla numbers

The estimated number of 82,000 remaining western lowland gorillas has been proposed in the latest Convention on Migratory Specie's (CMS) 2007 Western Lowland Gorilla Report, though this is likely an overestimate since tens of thousands of gorillas have been decimated by Ebola in the last few decades.

Recently though, an additional estimated 125,000 gorillas has been discovered in the Republic of Congo according to a formal announcement made at the 2008 International Primatological Society Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland, raising current numbers to between 175,000 to 225,000 gorillas in West Central Africa.

Gorillas are threatened by Ebola, hunting, logging, ...

In North-eastern Gabon, Ebola has decimated significant numbers of both gorillas and chimpanzees since 1994. Prior to this, in the 1980's to early 1990's, Gabon was thought to hold around 35,000 western lowland gorillas. With on-going logging and poaching actitivities, combined with oil and mining industries, gorilla numbers continue to rapidly decline.
Illegal live animal trade
The illegal pet trade is also a reality in Gabon despite gorillas being integrally protected by law in this country. Adult gorillas are killed for their flesh, usually in exchange for money, whereas infants are taken live to be sold illegally as pets. It is believed that only one out of ten captured orphans survives. If a captured orphan does not succumb to stress, dehydration and malnutrition will usually ensue. Our hope is that Gabon's remaining wild gorillas remain safely in their wild habitats. This will require intensive efforts within the field, as well as extensive support from various stakeholders. Ultimately, we can hopefully see the day where no more gorillas become "orphaned by" or "victims of" the bush meat crisis through a global and concerted effort.