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Nature & Environment

Gorillas may also be susceptible to coronavirus

By T.K. Randall
March 30, 2020 · Comment icon 8 comments

Gorillas are vulnerable to human diseases. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Brocken Inaglory
Researchers have warned that COVID-19 may pose a serious risk to endangered gorilla populations in Africa.
Mountain gorillas - which now number around 1,000 - are some of the most endangered primates on Earth, having long suffered from the consequences of poaching, habitat destruction and human encroachment on their territory in countries such as Rwanda and Uganda.

It goes without saying, therefore, that the last thing they need is another threat to their survival.

Unfortunately it now appears as though the coronavirus, which has already infected over 700,000 people worldwide, may also be capable of infecting mountain gorillas as well.

Congo's Virunga National Park, which is home to around one third of the world's remaining mountain gorillas, has closed the area to visitors in a bid to protect the animals from the virus.
Officials cited "advice from scientific experts indicating that primates, including mountain gorillas, are likely susceptible to complications arising from the COVID-19 virus."

Rwanda has also taken steps to close down its parks to tourists for the time being as well.

According to Paula Kahumbu, chief executive of conservation group WildlifeDirect, gorillas can be susceptible to human contagions even at the best of times.

"We know that gorillas are very sensitive to human diseases," she said. "If anyone has a cold or a flu they are not allowed to go and see the gorillas."

"With coronavirus having such a long time of no symptoms in some cases, it means that we could actually put those gorillas at risk."

Source: Independent | Comments (8)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by third_eye 4 years ago
Good luck getting them gorillas a go at social distancing, but I guess isolation is the best they got...  Stay away from gorillas!  ~
Comment icon #2 Posted by Not Your Huckleberry 4 years ago
It's a zoonotic disease, transferable between humans and animals. That's why it's such a big deal at my work. 
Comment icon #3 Posted by freetoroam 4 years ago
Yep, got to keep them away from all humans.  Also any poachers should be shot on sight, whether they are infected or not.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Myles 4 years ago
That would suck to lose some or most of the gorillas left.
Comment icon #5 Posted by MysteryMike 4 years ago
Its the beginning of the Simian Flu from Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Festina 4 years ago
Comment icon #7 Posted by Myles 4 years ago
On a related note, bigfoot is believed to have gone extinct due to the covid-19 virus, however no bodies have been found to test.   
Comment icon #8 Posted by Dark Howl 4 years ago
This sucks. Gorillas having COVID-19 is unfair because they're innocent. It;s not fair thousands of humans died of it either. 

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