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Gorillas surviving against the odds in Kahuzi-Biega
21 April 2011

A census of eastern lowland gorillas has revealed some good news: numbers in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park appear to have increased over the past six years.

This latest study, which saw researchers analyse dung volumes and count the nests gorillas make for themselves, point to there now being at least 181 eastern lowland gorillas in the region. Similar studies carried out in 2004 and 2000 turned up 168 and 130 individuals respectively, indicating conservation efforts are working, despite the troubles seen in this part of eastern DRC in recent years.

In particular, the past 15 years, has seen the Kahuzi-Biega National Park plagued by near-constant warfare, placing both the gorillas and conservationists working to protect them in grave danger. Indeed, the Wildlife Conservation Charity (WCS), which carried out this latest census in partnership with the Insitut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) reported that its staff experienced several "close calls with armed militia" while carrying out the survey.

Commenting, Jillian Miller, the Gorilla Organization's Executive Director, says: "Kahuzi-Biega has seen so much insecurity in the past few years it's been almost impossible to get reliable census data.

"Although large areas of the park are still out of bounds to researchers, we are delighted to see this glimmer of hope for the gorillas that still survive there against the odds."

The eastern lowland gorilla – which is also known as the Grauer's gorilla – is listed as 'Endangered' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List. It is believed that there are currently fewer than 4,000 individuals left in the wild.

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
david@gorillas.org
www.gorillas.org