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Still Waters

Gorillas under threat from Ebola

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Still Waters

IT’S POSSIBLE THAT as much as a third of the global Western lowland gorilla population, a critically endangered subspecies, was wiped out by Ebola in the early 2000s, experts say. Now mountain gorillas and Grauer’s gorillas may be at risk too.

“Once Ebola has been identified within a local gorilla population, the consequences have always been really catastrophic,” says Peter Walsh, a primate ecologist who worked on developing an Ebola vaccine for primates at the University of Cambridge.

Protecting the gorillas’ safety is a dangerous undertaking in its own right. Virunga National Park, in eastern DRC, is home to one of the largest populations of remaining mountain gorillas. It has seen more than 170 rangers have been killed in the line of duty in the past 20 years, including one on Thursday, at the hands of armed rebel groups and local militias.


*long read*

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