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Rare baby gorilla born at Tshiaberimu
05 February 2009

On 31 January, after a tragic month at Mount Tshiaberimu in DR Congo, which saw the murder of ranger Safari Kakule by militia, the Gorilla Organization received some positive news from its team of rangers – a new baby gorilla had been born!

Many staff at Mount Tshiaberimu have suggested that the new baby should be named in honour of Safari, who had dedicated his life to protecting the gorillas.

The gorilla baby was born into the Mutsunga family, which resides in the Mahinga sector of Mount Tshiaberimu, near the southern Kikyo patrol post. The baby’s mother, Mwengesyali used to belong to the Lusenge family, but formed the Mutsunga family with silverback Kanindo in 2007.

This new baby brings the total number of Mount Tshiaberimu gorillas to 19 individuals and is a positive sign for the population, which suffered terribly throughout 2008. In February and May of last year, two gorillas died after contracting a deadly virus, and later in the year, Mwengesyali’s second son, five year old Musangania, sadly lost his life after falling out of a tree.

The Mount Tshiaberimu gorillas live in an isolated area of forest in the northern annex of the Virunga National Park in DR Congo. While currently classified as eastern lowland gorillas, it has been suggested that these gorillas may in fact be a unique and rare subspecies. The Gorilla Organization has been working in this area, in collaboration with the Congolese wildlife authority (ICCN), for over 12 years. This flagship project, which combines protected area management with research, environmental education and local community development, has seen the gorilla population grow from just 16 individuals when the project first started.

*As the baby is still so tiny it has not been possible to get a photograph of the new gorilla. The photo above is the baby’s half brother Mukokya.

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