Mountain Gorilla Population Up 12% in Past Two Years

Sharon Gray/CC BY-ND 2.0

There still aren't many mountain gorillas left in their forest homes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda, but WWF reports that a new tally from the Uganda Wildlife Authority shows that there are now 880 mountain gorillas, up from 786 in two years ago when the the last census was taken.

400 of mountain gorillas now live in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, with 480 in the Virunga Massif.

WWF cites successful conservation efforts as being behind the population increases. Mountain gorillas are the only great ape species increasing in population currently.

As for the continued threats to mountain gorillas, WWF says:

The greatest current threats to mountain gorillas are entanglement in hunting snares, disease transfer from humans, and habitat loss. The prospect of oil exploration in Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park by petroleum companies is also cause for concern.

While oil drilling would not occur directly in gorilla habitat, industrial activity would compromise the integrity of Virunga National Park, Africa’s first national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An influx of workers and heavy equipment could greatly threaten the park’s prized biodiversity, which also includes elephants, hippos and the rare okapi antelope.

Tags: Endangered Species

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