Due to its large size, G.beringei probably has only two major predators. Mainly people and diseases are the major reasons why mountain gorillas are endangered. Humans are the main predator of G.beringei, killing them for their meat, and body parts and in retaliation for crop damage. A few cases of G. beringei predation by Leopards panthera pardus are described.
Eastern gorillas Gorilla beringei are susceptible to numerous diseases and parasites, including the common cold, pneumonia, whooping cough, influenza, hepatitis A and B, Epstein–Barr virus, chickenpox, smallpox, bacterial meningitis, tuberculosis, diphtheria, measles, rubella, mumps, yellow fever, yaws, Entamoeba coli, paralytic poliomyelitis, encephalomyocarditis, schistosomiasis, giardiasis, filariasis, strongyloidiasis, cryptosporidiosis, shigellosis, salmonellosis, E. histolytica, Ancylostoma sp., Oesophagostomum sp.Endolimax nana,Chilomastix sp. Ancylostoma sp., Oesophagostomum sp.Acanthocephala sp., Cyclospora sp.
G. b.beringei is critically endangered while G.b.graueri has endangered status. Threats to G.beringei all refer to the high human population density in their geographic range. The populations of G. beringei are increasingly fragmented, isolated, and destroyed directly by unsustainable hunting (eg. poaching) and indirectly through habitat degradation, loss and fragmentation.
Mountain gorillas are sensitive to extinction not only due to habitat loss and overexploitation but also with d demographic and genetic changes and environmental disasters such as disease. While much has been written about the impact of habitat loss and hunting on populations. Diseases, including parasites, are one more major concern as the human transmission of G.beringei occurs and has the potential to be catastrophic.
Why G beringei is phylogenetically close to humans, this species is highly susceptible to numerous human diseases. The fact that every year thousands of tourists from hundreds of places around the world come out of the crowd, terribly bad ventilated airplanes and airports and within 1–2 days are close to, and sometimes touching, habituated G. beringei . These visitors can carry exotic strains of pathogens while not yet showing clinical signs of disease.
The risk is that humans will transfer disease to an immunologically fragile population of G. beringei, triggering an epidemic among them. G. beringei populations that are now the focus of intensive tourist viewing are already small and highly threatened: the Virunga Mts populations with 480 individuals and the Bwindi Impenetrable N. P. population with 300 individuals.
Each day, 75% of individuals in the Virunga population are frequented by people (tourists, researchers, guides, porters, rangers, and military escorts). Disease transmission between humans and G.beringei is expected to become increasingly severe if once stable ecosystems and large (genetically diverse). Populations of G.beringei are affected by fragmentation, disease, and stress caused by people, the small populations are likely to have reduced genetic variation, leading to greater susceptibility to infectious diseases.
In the case of G. beringei stress related to the addiction process and frequent visits from people can further compromise their well-being by compromising their ability to respond normally to illness. The introduction of a human-borne infection into small, stressed, genetically depressed populations of G.beringei can cause not only the extinction of the population but also (when the subspecies is represented by a single population) the extinction of the subspecies.
The main protected areas whose effective management is critical for the long-term survival of G. beringei are KahuziBiega N.P., Maiko N.P., Natural Reserve in Itombwe and Virunga N. P. in DR Congo, Bwindi Impenetrable N. P.and Mgahinga Gorilla N. P. in Uganda, and Volcanoes N. P. in Rwanda.
Research priorities for G. beringei at this time are (1) new surveys to determine the present distribution and numbers of G. b. graueri;(2) more research on the impacts of tourism on the ecology and behaviour of G. b. beringei and the Bwindi Gorilla; and (3) a detailed assessment of the taxonomic status of the gorillas of Mt. Tshiaberimuand, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.