Report says that most common type of gorilla is near extinction

first_imgBy Erica Bulman THE ASSOCIATED PRESS GENEVA – The most common type of gorilla is now “critically endangered,” one step away from global extinction, according to the 2007 Red List of Threatened Species released Wednesday by the World Conservation Union. The Ebola virus is depleting western gorilla populations to a point where it might become impossible for them to recover. Commercial hunting, civil unrest and habitat loss due to logging and forest clearance for palm oil plantations are compounding the problem, said the Swiss-based group known by its acronym IUCN. “Great apes are our closest living relatives and very special creatures,” said Russ Mittermeier, head of IUCN’s Primate Specialist Group. “We could fit all the remaining great apes in the world into two or three large football stadiums. There just aren’t very many left.” In all, 16,306 species are threatened with extinction, 188 more than last year, IUCN said. A quarter of mammals are in jeopardy, as are one-eighth of birds, a third of all amphibians and seven-tenths percent of the plants that have been studied. “Life on Earth is disappearing fast and will continue to do so unless urgent action is taken,” the IUCN warned. The western gorilla’s main subspecies – the western lowland gorilla – has been decimated by the Ebola virus, which has wiped out about a third of the gorillas found in protected areas over the past 15 years. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more