Gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been “put on lockdown” for fears they could be infected by coronavirus.
The move has seen the closure of other ape sanctuaries including those of orangutans that are also endangered.
Great apes are closely related to humans and vulnerable to human illnesses like the common cold and Ebola — experts fear they could contract COVID-19 too.
Mountain gorillas — also referred to as Gorilla beringei beringei — are endangered animals that are only found in the high-elevation forests of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
All three countries have confirmed cases of the naval pandemic currently sweeping the world and according to The Daily Mail, conservationists fear the animals might be at risk too.
‘We don’t know if [coronavirus has] infected mountain gorillas; we have not seen any evidence of that,’ chief veterinarian Kirsten Gilardi of the Gorilla Doctors project told the BBC.
‘But because mountain gorillas are susceptible to human pathogens, we know that they can develop a respiratory illness.’
Covid-19 has so far infected close to 2 Million people worldwide with more than 100,000 confirmed deaths.