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Mountain gorilla population grows
08 December 2010

A census of the world’s largest mountain gorilla population has counted 480 animals – an increase of 100 individuals since the last count seven years ago. The mountain gorilla census, conducted by rangers in March and April 2010, took place in the Virunga Massif, spanning Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo.

A second mountain gorilla population of 302 individuals is found in southwestern Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and four orphans live in a sanctuary in DR Congo, bringing the total wild mountain gorilla population to 786.

“This population increase is a true testimony of the hard work and commitment shown by the local wildlife authorities, governments and NGOs working to protect this magnificent species – it is a fantastic achievement”, said Jillian Miller, the Gorilla Organization’s Executive Director.

The International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), which supported the census, report that the current figure represents an annual growth rate of 3.7% in the Virunga Massif despite the illegal killing of no less than nine mountain gorillas in the area over the past seven years. Seventy-two people from Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo, surveyed over 1,000 kilometres of forest to conduct the census.

Teams spanned the entire gorilla range, collecting faecal samples and documenting signs of gorilla groups. Genetic analysis was carried out on the samples to identify and correct any double counting of gorillas.

“While we should all be encouraged by the results of the survey and be assured that the work we are doing is having the desired impact, we can not rest on our laurels. Many threats continue to put pressure on gorilla populations throughout Africa and the Gorilla Organization will continue to work hard to protect the endangered gorillas” said Jillian Miller.

for further information or photographs contact:

David Hewitt, Communications Manager
The Gorilla Organization, 110 Gloucester Avenue, London, Nw1 8HX
Tel: 020 7916 4974
Mobile: 07801 971123