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Rare bird species found at Mt Tshiaberimu
19 February 2008

Between 22 January and 2 February 2008, the first ever bird survey took place at Mt Tshiaberimu in the northern annex of the Virungas National Park, DR Congo. An impressive 145 species of bird were identified in this small isolated area of forest, including the rare Shelley’s Crimson-wing (Cryptospiza Shelleyi), found only in four countries in sub-saharan Africa. The survey forms part of the Gorilla Organization’s Mt Tshiaberimu Conservation project, which serves to evaluate and conserve the fragile ecosystem at Mt Tshiaberimu, home to a tiny population of rare gorillas.

The bird survey was commissioned by the Gorilla Organization to help gain a better understanding of the forest eco-system and the impact that human pressure is having on the habitat. Two teams of scientists surveyed five sites across the 7,700 ha area of forest, incorporating the diverse habitats that result from the vast altitude range, which spans from 916m to 3117 metres above sea level. While further surveys need to be carried our before conclusions can be drawn, the presence of Shelley’s Crimson-wing (Cryptospiza Shelleyi), classified as vulnerable by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), would suggest a healthy eco-system.

The Gorilla Organization’s Mt Tshiaberimu conservation project, generously funded by the European Union, was started in 1996 to protect a small isolated group of 16 gorillas and their habitat. The project combines gorilla protection, education, community development and habitat research and in the 12 years that it has been running, has seen the gorilla population increase to 20.
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