Monday, April 23, 2007

Number of mountain gorillas in Uganda on the rise

Via ScienceDaily, some good news out of Uganda.

Uganda's Mountain Gorillas Increase In Number

The most recent census of mountain gorillas in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park--one of only two places in the world where the rare gorillas exist--has found that the population has increased by 6 percent since the last census in 2002, according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Max Planck Institute of Anthropology and other groups that participated in the effort.

"This is great news for all of the organizations that have worked to protect Bwindi and its gorilla population," said Wildlife Conservation Society researcher Dr. Alastair McNeilage, who is also the director of the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation in Bwindi. "There are very few cases in this world where a small population of a endangered primates is actually increasing."

Of course, we are talking relatively small numbers of individuals.

According to the census, which also successfully used for the first time genetic samples from fecal specimens, Bwindi's gorilla population now numbers 340 individual gorillas, up from 320 in 2002, and 300 in 1997.

The increase in the numbers is very important, since mountain gorillas are only found in two locations.

The other mountain gorilla stronghold is located just south of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the Virunga Volcanoes on the borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The last census of the Virunga gorilla population in 2003 revealed 380 gorillas, up from 324 individuals counted in the previous census in 1989. In spite of incursions by farmers and rebels into the parks, and a few recent poaching events, Virungas' mountain gorillas are persisting as well, thanks to sustained conservation efforts by the guards and staff members within that landscape. The current total of mountain gorillas at both locations brings the worldwide tally to approximately 720 individual animals.

We are 720 individuals from loosing one of our closest cousins. Let's work for this not happening, and help support conservation work in those two areas.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting

April 23, 2007 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We are 720 individuals from loosing one of our closest cousins."

Excuse me, it is my understanding that the closest cousins to Homo Sapians Sapians are the two species of chimpanzees.

April 24, 2007 12:59 AM  
Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

Yes, chimpanzees are closer cousins - as might orangutangs be (I can't remember), but mountain gorillas are still fairly close. There are not that many types of apes around.

April 24, 2007 7:20 AM  

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