Disease wipes out gorillas.AN EBOLA plague is killing thousands of gorillas and driving the great apes towards extinction, researchers said yesterday.
Scientists estimate that, between 2001 and 2005, the virus killed 5,500 gorillas in just one 2,700 square kilometre Square kilometre (U.S. spelling: square kilometer), symbol km², is a decimal multiple of the SI unit of surface area, the square metre, one of the SI derived units. 1 km² is equal to:
A region of western Africa between the Sahara Desert and the Gulf of Guinea. It was largely controlled by colonial powers until the 20th century.
West African adj. & n. .
The researchers tracked gorilla groups in and around the Lossi sanctuary in the Republic of Congo.
They found evidence of "massive gorilla die-offs" caused by the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus Ebola virus (ēbō`lə), a member of a family (Filovirus) of viruses that cause hemorrhagic fevers. The virus, named for the region in Congo (Kinshasa) where it was first identified in 1976, emerged from the rain forest, where it survives in (Zebov).
A 2,700 square kilometre zone was "largely emptied" of gorillas.
The number killed was a conservative estimate, assuming only half the gorilla population density typical of the region.
The evidence suggested that Ebola was spreading from one gorilla social group to another.