September 24 marks World Gorilla Day, when the world celebrates one of its closest relatives, sharing 98 percent of our DNA as we do.
There are two gorilla species (Gorilla gorilla and Gorilla beringei) and 4 subspecies.
- Gorilla gorilla gorilla (Western lowland gorilla)
- Gorilla gorilla diehli (Cross River gorilla)
- Gorilla beringei graueri (Eastern lowland gorilla)
- Gorilla beringei beringei (Mountain gorilla)
All gorilla sub-species are only found 3 countries – Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Within these countries they live in two geographical regions; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists both Gorilla beringei species (mountain gorillas and Eastern lowland gorillas) and Gorilla gorilla species (Western lowland gorillas and Cross River gorillas) as critically endangered.
2017 was the inaugural year for World Gorilla Day and it also marked the fiftieth anniversary of Karisoke Research Center, operated by The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI). Established by Dian Fossey, Karisoke is the longest-running gorilla field study site dedicated to the conservation, protection, and study of gorillas and their habitats in Africa. There are many great organizations and individuals dedicated to fighting for their survival, but greater awareness and investment are essential to gaining ground for gorillas. World Gorilla Day strives to be a rallying point for bolstering appreciation and action for these great apes.