How long have they been protected?

The American researcher Carl Akeley predicted as early as the beginning of the 20th century that the mountain gorillas would soon be threatened by extinction. He requested the colonial government of the then Belgian Congo to establish a gorilla reserve. Finally, in 1925 Prince Albert founded the Albert National Park (today the Virunga National Park) with the main purpose to protect the gorillas. This was Africa's first national park.

The distribution range of the western gorilla extends over 6 countries. Some of the protected areas in these countries were established specifically in order to protect the gorillas, similarly to two national parks in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park and Maiko National Park. Since 1985, a gorilla conservation project has been operated by the GTZ (German Technical Cooperation) in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park. In this fertile region, the human population pressure is very high, making it necessary to control activities in the park as strictly as in the Virunga Volcanoes.