The mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei) is the largest of the four gorilla subspecies. Its natural range in the highlands of east-central Africa consists of two relatively small areas, a factor that has made it extremely vulnerable to a variety of human-related threats. Ongoing wars and poverty in the region have facilitated the illegal hunting of gorillas as well as illegal timber harvesting that has further reduced the mountain gorilla’s habitat. Due largely to the attention of international conservationists, the mountain gorilla population has actually increased somewhat over the last two decades. However, the animals still number fewer than 700, and poaching fueled by political instability continues to be a huge problem for the mountain gorilla.

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