In the world today, there remains only about 1060 mountain gorillas (Gorilla BeringeiBeringei) surviving in the wild. This population still stands at a risk of extinction due to the ongoing human activities like; deforestation and increasing human population, hunting,civil wars ( The war in DRC that has lasted for quite some time now and has ended up involving the mountain gorillas in this political unrest) , diseases, destruction of forest habitat and capture for the illegal pet trade. And because of this the humans are continuously encroaching on their (mountain gorillas) settlement area thus pushing the mountain gorillas out of the wild and into extinct. Several rules have been set to protect the mountain gorillas in the wild and one of the rules is that tourists should not take a gorilla trek when sick.
The International Gorilla Conservation Programme that was laid has played a big role in the protection of this endangered species of wildlife through the establishment of Regional Cooperation on Natural resource maintenance and management. It has seen its work through; strengthening the protection of mountain gorillas and their habitat through regional collaboration by the 3 ( three) countries and structured mechanisms for transboundary conservation; establishing a strong information base to allow decision makers to understand the dynamic between the human population and the natural habitat/wildlife; and working with local communities to develop livelihood strategies that are complementary to, and even contribute to conservation objectives.
Mountain gorillas are as strong and fragile as human beings as they share quite a lot of similar characters and due to this; they are prone to many human contagious diseases. This can arise as the humans push / extend closer to the mountain gorilla’ homesteads, bringing with them the risk of spreading human diseases to gorillas such as the flu, pneumonia, and even ebola. People tend to move to the regions of mountain gorillas because they have very fertile lands and rich biodiversity which yet impacts on the well being of these estranged and endangered species.
In the current research / study by doctors, researchers and scientists has indicated that some mountain gorillas have died as a result of contracting diseases from human beings mainly the respiratory diseases (flu, mild colds and pneumonia). These respiratory diseases come second after trauma that normally cause death among the young gorillas.
In order to protect the livelihoods of these mountain gorillas, the IGCP together with the different tourism authorities and national park authorities in the three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo have established some rules for trackers once planning to visit the mountain gorillas.And among these rules, there includes the fact that for any one feeling sick especially those suffering from flu, cold, diarrhea, fever etc should avoid going near the National parks harboring these creatures. The rule requests all those with any infectious sickness not to go for mountain gorilla tracking as it can be dangerous to both the trekker and the animals.