Long victimised by poaching and deforestation, Africa’s Mountain Gorillas are in the midst of an amazing comeback thanks to conservation efforts backed by high-level cross-border political support.
Global mountain gorilla population grows to an encouraging 1,063
The most recent survey results (released last December) from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, and the contiguous Sarambwe Nature Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo, have confirmed that the mountain gorilla population in the forest has grown to 459, providing further evidence that conservation efforts to protect the planet’s greatest apes are working. This brings the global number of confirmed mountain gorillas to 1,063, when combined with results from the Virunga Massif survey conducted in 2015/16. By contrast, in 2008, field surveys estimated just 680 mountain gorillas in the wild.
“These population survey results signal a real recovery,” Anna Behm Masozera, director of the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP), based in Rwanda, told the Smithsonian. “This doesn’t mean we’re in the clear. These are still very fragile populations. But the increase is incredibly encouraging.”
The rise in gorilla numbers may be the most important ecological success story of our time
Mark Jenkins, explorer and journalist, wrote in the Smithsonian Magazine:
“Mountain gorillas would have been extinct by now if it weren’t for humans. Then again, mountain gorillas, whose only natural predator is the leopard, would never have been threatened if it weren’t for humans.
The heartening rise in mountain gorilla numbers may be the most important ecological success story of our time. It has been based on collaboration rather than competition, on communication rather than isolation, on selfless commitment rather than selfish greed. In other words, it is based on a rather encouraging change, or even evolution: Humans have been acting like gorillas.”
5 Ways to help save gorillas (and other wildlife too)
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund often receive inquiries from people wanting to know how they can help gorillas as well as other wildlife. This is an important question and one that requires a multi-part answer. Successfully saving endangered gorillas in their habitat in Africa – which is the mission of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund – requires ongoing, long-term protection and monitoring in the forests every day. We do that for mountain gorillas in Rwanda and Grauer’s gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with teams of dedicated trackers, anti-poachers and scientists. This is an expensive effort and we are dependent on donations to carry out this critical aspect of gorilla conservation. Your support here is crucial. And there are many other ways you can help too. Click for details.