Mountain Gorilla Population Increases 25% in Central African National Parks


photo: Naaman Saar Stavy/Creative Commons

Some great news for gorillas and conservation: WWF reports that a survey conducted in the Central Africa's Virunga Massif--that's a region containing three national parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda--has found that the world's largest population of mountain gorillas has increased by more than 25%, climbing to 480 individuals since 2003 when the last survey was conducted. According to the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, which conducted the census, despite illegal killings of nine gorillas in the past seven years, the mountain gorilla population in the region has increased by 100, an annual growth rate of 3.7%.

Combined with the only other remaining wild population of mountain gorillas, in Bwindi park in Uganga, the total number of gorillas not in captivity today stands at 786.

This good news for mountain gorillas is only part of the bigger tragedy that great apes across Africa and in Indonesia face enormous pressures from human activity. As WWF's Great Ape Coordinator David Greer says,

The mountain gorillas is the only one of the nine subspecies of African great apes experiencing a population increase. While we celebrate this collective achievement, we must also increase efforts to safeguard the remaining eight subspecies of great apes. Elsewhere in African great ape range states, government support of wildlife enforcement efforts is shockingly weak and great apes continue to be poached in an environment of pervasive legal impunity.

According to a report released earlier this year by INTERPOL and UNEP, deforestation, civil war, and the rampant bushmeat trade could cause gorillas in the Congo Basin to go extinct in the next 10-15 years.

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More on Gorillas:
Gorillas Could be Extinct in the Congo Basin by Mid-2020s
UN Will Airlift Nine Orphaned Gorillas Into Congo Nature Reserve
Congo's Gorilla Rangers Allowed to Return to Virunga National Park (Video)
'Plant of the Apes' Discovered in Republic of Congo

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