December 7, 2010

Mountain Gorilla Population Increasing In Central Africa

Regional authorities said Tuesday that the population of mountain gorillas in their main central African habitat has increased by a quarter in seven years.

The majority of the world's mountain gorillas are found in the Virunga massif, which includes three contiguous national parks in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda.

According to a census carried out earlier this year and funded by local and foreign wildlife organizations, the population of the iconic but endangered animal in that area jumped from 380 individuals in 2003 to 480.

"The increase in mountain gorilla numbers is a testament that we in the Virunga massif are all reaping from the conservation efforts sowed on a daily basis," Rica Rwigamba, from the Rwanda Development Board said in a statement.

The only place outside of the Virunga massif where mountain gorillas are found is Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

The census places the world population of mountain gorillas at 786, including 302 individuals believed to dwell in Bwindi and four orphans living in a sanctuary in DR Congo.

Mountain gorillas were famously brought to the world's attention by the late Dian Fossey and are one of the region's main tourist attractions.

Image Courtesy Wikipedia