are legally protected in all countries in which they live. Despite this,
gorillas are threatened with extinction as a result of the clearing and
destruction of the tropical forests on which they depend, and the illegal
hunting of gorillas for meat, trophies, or subsequent sale of live young.
Mountain gorillas living on the borders of the DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda, along
with a small population of gorillas on the Nigeria and Cameroon border, are most
at risk. Each of these populations numbers only in the hundreds.
Prominent gorilla conservation projects have been established in selected areas in an attempt to reverse the trend of declining population sizes. These programs have pioneered the development of ecotourism, in which tourists pay to visit areas with interesting natural and cultural features. Conservationists also work with local communities to educate people about the value of the wildlife in the area, to eliminate illegal hunting, and to assist communities in developing farming and logging methods that are habitat and gorilla friendly.
Scientific classification: Gorillas belong to the family Pongidae. The western gorilla is classified as Gorilla gorilla and the eastern gorilla as Gorilla beringei.
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