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The gorillas take the jungle

December 9, 2010

Don't call it a comeback - I've been here for years.

Gorillas in Central Africa are making a significant comeback! Yay! Who doesn’t love gorillas? Look at that guy he’s so awesome. Since 2003, the number of mountain gorillas has grown by more than 25 percent.

Researchers say this is a very significant recovery for the highly endangered species. There are now 480 mountain gorillas known to definitely inhabit the Virunga Massif, an area that includes national parks in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. While that might not sound like a lot, 30 years ago, there were only 250 left.

Add the 480 in the Virunga Massif to the 302 known to live in Bwindi National Park, also in the Congo, and that brings the total number to 786. Augustin Basabose, coordinator of species at the International Gorilla Conservation Program, credits the growth to the cooperation between organizations in the area. Scientists also credit programs to promote local economic development as helping the gorillas bounce back.

The main threat facing gorillas is poaching, and the International Gorilla Conservation Program stressed the need to maintain vigilance against poachers. As Eugene Rutagarama put it: “Collectively, we cannot let down our guard on the conservation of these incredible animals. While mountain gorillas are physically strong, they are also incredibly vulnerable.”

Well said Eugene! Keep up the good work and go gorillas!


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