Climate changes and Rwanda gorilla conservation – As great adventure safaris we are passionate about gorilla conservation efforts this has seen us engage our clients in activities that will raise funds to help protect the gorillas and also support the neighboring communities in the greater Virunga massive and Bwindi impenetrable national park.
We are in process of finalizing projects supports to gorilla doctors and Dian fossey gorilla fund and CTPH(conservation through public health) and through marketing we have supported Rwanda development Board in buying gorilla permits hence generating income for the park to help in the protection of the endangered mountain gorillas.
Climate change is a real threat to the gorillas, represented by climate change is one, however, that it is much harder for organisations to protect against because it has the potential to affect so much of the gorillas’ environment. Changes in rainfall patterns and temperatures can affect the gorillas’ food supply, cause thermal stress, increase the chance that they lose habitat to forest fires, and enable the emergence of new diseases for which the gorillas have little or no immunity. Climatic change is also likely to have significant impact on the human populations living near the gorillas, which can in turn put more pressure on the gorillas themselves. For example, as food and water supplies of local populations are affected—such as in a drought that reduces crop yields—the already considerable pressures on the forest as a source of food and water are likely to increase even further.
Climate changes and Rwanda gorilla conservation -Sadly, we are already seeing changes in mountain gorilla habitat that are indicative of climate change, such as changes in temperature and rainfall. In addition, between the 1980s and 2000s, we saw attitudinal shifts—a pattern often associated with climate change—in some of the key gorilla food species, as well as a 50 per cent decline in the biomass of the gorillas’ most preferred food. We do not know what is responsible for this latter result. It may have more to do with the increasing gorilla population than climate change. But it is obviously very worrisome and something we are continuing to monitor.
One piece of good news is that given their broad diet, mobility (they are not reliant on a specific nesting or breeding site), and behavioural flexibility, gorillas, like most primates, are likely to be able to buffer some of the effects of climate change better than species with more-specialized niches. As an example of how gorillas and other primates may be buffered from climatic extremes, take the severe drought that hit Kenya in 2009. The wildebeest and zebra populations of Amboseli National Park were devastated, with an estimated 98 percent and 75 percent, respectively, dying as a result, whereas mortality in the baboon population was less than 15 percent.
However, of concern for the mountain gorillas we protect is their extremely limited habitat. They are restricted to the top of six volcanoes, which are surrounded by some of the highest rural population densities in Africa. Simply stated, they don’t have much ability to go up or down should major changes to their habitat occur.