Climate change means that the environment many animals have adapted to is changing. Our world is getting warmer, and that means changes in temperature, rainfall, and weather patterns. This means that animals must change and adapt in order to survive this.
A recent study has found that gorillas are one of the many species that must adapt. Warming temperatures means novel diseases gorillas do not have immunity for, changing habitats, and growing competition for resources such as water and food.
Although these problems affect all gorilla species, the mountain gorilla may be the one to face the most serious threats. Unlike other species such as the Western Lowland Gorilla, mountain gorillas have a very limited range. They are limited to the tops of 4 mountains—and there’s no way to go down. The area below the mountains is now densely populated by humans.
This means that the mountain gorillas need to adapt to where they are at. Mountain Gorillas normally get most of their water needs from consuming the plants in the mountains, but this is changing. They must now find more water where they are at.
Not As Easy as It Sounds
It might seem like finding drinking water in a tropical rainforest is a small problem for gorillas. After all, puddles abound and there’s no shortage of swamps and streams. The problem is that the gorillas need huge amounts of vegetation to survive.
This means they need to spend a lot of time eating. If they are spending more time looking for water and resting in the shade to escape the heat, that means less time for food.
There’s Still Hope
The good news is right now mountain gorilla populations are increasing. The population has reached 1,000 individuals. In 1989, there were less than 700. While this is an improved population, it illustrates how slowly the population grows.
Any small disruption to their population will take decades to make up. Scientists are constantly watching this rare species and their population and will make recommendations to help with conservation as more information becomes available.