August 6, 2008

Congo Census Uncovers 125,000 Gorillas

More than 125,000 western lowland gorillas were tallied in the northern part of the Republic of Congo, conservationists said Tuesday in New York.

The U.S.-based Wildlife Conservation Society said researchers were thrilled to find so many of the endangered great apes in an area covering 18,000 square miles. Previous estimates in the 1980s suggested that were less than 100,000 western gorillas over all of central Africa.

The WCS said successful long-term management of the Republic of Congo's protected areas, remoteness of key locations were gorillas were found and plenty of food may account for the massive numbers.

"These figures show that northern Republic of Congo contains the mother lode of gorillas," Steven E, Sanderson, head of the conservation group, said in a statement. "It also shows that conservation in the Republic of Congo is working. This discovery should be a rallying cry for the world that we can protect other vulnerable and endangered species, whether they be gorillas in Africa, tigers in India, or lemurs in Madagascar."