Why Are Gorillas Poached? – Rwanda Wildlife Safaris

Why Are Gorillas Poached? Gorillas are poached for a variety of reasons, which has a significant impact on their population and chances of survival in the wild. Mountain gorillas are located in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and are endemic to the tropical forest and montane portions of these countries. They were virtually extinct in the nineteenth century, and according to mountain gorilla poaching data, many gorillas died at the hands of poachers. Poaching of gorillas has long been a problem in Africa.

The conservation efforts of the late Dian Fossey, an American primatologist, resulted in an increase in their population. Fossey committed her life to mountain gorilla conservation, which resulted to her death in 1985. She strongly denounced the poaching of gorillas.

Poaching of gorillas in Rwanda was rampant before to Dian Fossey’s arrival, but after she died, environmentalists realized the necessity of protecting these primates. Many environmentalists have since taken her place behind the wheel.

Gorillas travel in groups of 5-30 individuals, led by Silverback, the dominating alpha-male. This is something you will notice if you go on a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda, Rwanda, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The silverback oversees all group activities and determines what they must perform on a regular basis.

Gorillas forage for food all day before sleeping in nests they build every day at 6 p.m. Unfortunately, a lot of things happen to them when they are on the move. Some of them are kidnapped along the route. In order to protect themselves and their families, gorillas have slain gorilla poachers.

Why Are Gorillas Poached?
Why Are Gorillas Poached?

Why Are Gorillas Poached?

There are several reasons why gorilla poaching occurs. Despite the fact that the practice has declined, it still remains. Conservationists have simply made it more difficult for poachers to get those gorillas in their natural environment. The most vulnerable frequently flee their territory. Some of the reasons why gorillas are poached are as follows:

For Bushmeat Trade

One of the primary reasons why gorillas are poached is for this reason. Poachers kill them for the meat that will feed their families. Even paramilitary groups on the Congo side of the Virunga Conservation Area subsist on gorilla flesh.

Gorillas were also utilized in the bushmeat trade. According to reports, gorilla meat is incredibly costly and in high demand, thus poachers would go to great lengths to kill this rare species of primates in order to sell the flesh and make significant sums of money. Regular customers believe that gorilla meat is quite tasty, and there is a great demand for it.

Traditional Rituals (Magic and Charm)

Traditional rites need the capture of gorillas. Some witchdoctors think that certain parts of gorillas, including as the head, hands, and feet, may be utilized to gain supernatural abilities. Traditional healers’ beliefs have consistently contributed to mountain gorilla hunting. This is one of the lesser-known facts of gorilla poaching. One of the key causes for gorilla hunting in Africa was this.

For Pets

Gorillas are also kidnapped, abducted, and illegally sold as pets to wealthy foreign tycoons, private zoos, and researchers. Many villagers have helped the poachers in their heinous deed, seeing great quantities of money made from it.


Gorillas are poached for their trophies. Some individuals preserved deceased gorillas as trophies or power symbols, as well as to gratify their ego.

Lack of awareness on the importance of conserving gorillas.

Locals may poach gorillas because they are unaware of their value to society or the country as a whole. The people are more concerned about their safety and end up slaughtering gorillas to protect themselves. Locals must be educated about the value of mountain gorillas in order for them to cease hunting them. In the event of a threat, they will instead contact the appropriate authorities.

How can we keep gorillas safe?

Sensitization of visitors and communities on the importance of conserving gorillas.

Sensitization of visitors and local communities neighboring gorilla national parks will go a long way on educating people on the importance of conserving gorillas. Park managements and gorilla conservation agencies can also work hand-in-hand will the local communities and engage them in gorilla conservation projects which will help cub down on the poaching of gorillas.

Enforcing Tough Punishments for individuals caught poaching gorillas.

Individuals caught and found guilty of poaching gorillas should be given longer prison sentences and fines; and this should be well enforced by the governments, park authorities and wildlife conservation agencies. Enforcing tough punishments for gorilla poachers will drastically help in reducing the rate at which gorillas are being poached in the wild.

Why Are Gorillas Poached?
Why Are Gorillas Poached?

Preserving and Conserving of Gorilla Habitats

Practicing reforestation will help in preserving gorilla habitats which a main forested areas. Also by limiting on encroachment of gorilla habitat areas, the survival of gorilla species will gradually increase over a period of years.

Mountain gorillas are acclimated before people are allowed to visit and study them for an hour. A gorilla trekking permit costs $700 in Uganda, $1500 in Rwanda, and $400 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Uganda is the only one of the three countries that offers gorilla habituation experiences, which involve researchers and scientists participating in gorilla habituation experiences.

Book your gorilla trekking safari with us today for the best gorilla trekking experience during your visit to Africa.

book a safari