COVID Spread in Gorillas – Why it is Vital We Take Action Now 

The novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, has had a devastating impact on human and animal populations across the globe. Unfortunately, gorillas, who were already facing numerous threats to their survival, now must contend with the threat posed by COVID-19 as well. Recent reports suggest that gorillas in some parts of Africa have contracted the disease and died due to the virus. It is vital that we take action now to protect these animals and stop the spread of the virus.

What is COVID-19? 

COVID-19 is a contagious disease that is caused by the novel coronavirus, first identified in humans in late 2019. It has since caused a worldwide pandemic, with deaths reported in nearly every country on the planet. While there is much that is still unknown about the virus and it’s potential effects on animals, there have been some reports of animals, including gorillas, contracting the disease.

How is COVID-19 Spread in Gorillas?

The virus is believed to be spread primarily through contact with an infected individual or environment. This makes it very prevalent in populations of gorillas since they live in such close proximity to each other in their natural habitats. Gorillas may also contract the disease by eating food that has been contaminated by the virus or by inhaling airborne virus particles. It is also possible for humans to spread the virus to gorillas through direct or indirect contact.

Impact of COVID-19 on Gorillas 

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on gorillas in some parts of Africa. In Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, there have been reports of multiple gorilla deaths due to the illness. This is especially concerning given the already low population numbers of these animals, with roughly just over 1,000 left in the wild. Other threats such as poaching, habitat loss, and disease have already taken a drastic toll on the gorillas and the addition of COVID-19 may be the nail in the coffin for this species.

Why it is Vital We Take Action Now

It is vital that we take steps now to protect the gorillas from this deadly virus. If we do not take action now, the population could be decimated in a matter of years as the disease spreads more rapidly than it can be contained. This would be catastrophic for the gorillas, as well as for the ecosystems that they inhabit.

What We Can Do 

Thankfully, there are measures that can be taken to help to reduce the spread of the virus in gorilla populations both in the wild and in sanctuaries.

In the Wild
For gorillas in the wild, it is important to limit contact with them. This means discouraging tourists and researchers from visiting their natural habitats and ensuring that any contact is kept to a minimum. It is also important to limit contact with other humans who may have been exposed to the virus, as this could inadvertently spread it to the gorillas.

In Sanctuaries
Gorillas living in sanctuaries provide a more controlled environment, which can make containment of the virus much easier. It is important to ensure that regular testing is done of both staff and gorillas to identify any infections quickly and isolate those affected. Additionally, strict hygiene protocols must be followed to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.

The spread of COVID-19 in gorilla populations is a serious and urgent problem that needs to be addressed now. If we are to save these animals, then it is vital that we take measures both in and out of the wild to reduce their risk of infection and minimize the spread of the virus. By working together and taking swift action, we can help to protect these animals and ensure their future.