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Selfies, gorillas and the risks of disease transmission


Tourists could be spreading the virus causing COVID-19 to wild mountain gorillas by taking selfies with the animals without following precautions.

Researchers from Oxford Brookes University examined nearly 1,000 Instagram posts and found most gorilla trekking tourists were close enough to the animals, without face masks on, to make transmission of viruses and diseases possible.

Examining the photos from people visiting mountain gorillas in East Africa, lead author and Oxford Brookes University Primate Conservation alumnus Gaspard Van Hamme said: “The risk of disease transmission between visitors and gorillas is very concerning. It is vital that we strengthen and enforce tour regulations to ensure gorilla trekking practices do not further threaten these already imperilled great apes”. MORE

Header image: Oxford Brookes University/Andrew Walmsley