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Africa closes its national parks to protect gorillas from coronavirus

The temporary closure as a precautionary measure to protect gorillas and other non-human primates is spreading across the African continent. Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, home to some of the last mountain gorillas in the world, announced the closure of the park on the advice of scientists, as " primates, including mountain gorillas, are susceptible to complications derived from the COVID-19 virus ".

The National Agency for National Parks in Gabon has also taken similar steps, as its extensive park system is home to thousands of western lowland gorillas.

Rwanda has also closed down three national parks that are home to gorillas and chimpanzees.

Although there are no known cases of gorillas or other non-human primates infected with the new coronavirus, we do know that they can "catch colds" and contract other respiratory diseases from humans. Hence the extreme caution in this regard. It's not worth the risk, especially when it comes to rare and endangered species. There are fewer than 1,000 mountain gorillas in the wild, and the last thing they need is a viral infection.

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