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Mountain Gorillas Growing in Numbers

Mountain Gorillas Growing in Numbers


Today in Kampala, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has announced the results of the 2018 Goirlla Census that was conducted in Bwindi Forest and Sarambwe Extension. The survey has put the population of the mountain gorillas to a minimum of 459.

When combined with the 604 mountain gorillas recorded in the Virunga Massif that was done in 2015-2016, the population of mountain gorillas now stands at a minimum of 1063. The minimum count of 459 mountain gorillas was established on the unique consensus genotypes of gorillas.

In the 1980s, the gorilla population had reduced to bout 240 individuals. The number had reduced due to different threats including habitat loss, hunting, diseases etc.

The census is a tough job! It involves collecting fecal samples and taking them to Veterinary Genetics Labarotary. Nearly 2,000 georeferenced fecal samples to identify individual and group identities were collected.

The teams also counted nests where mountain gorillas sleep every night.

The Census Team also noted other animals that live in the Bwindi Forest including chimpanzees, elephants etc.

The 2018 Bwindi-Sarambwe population survey was conducted by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Institut Congolais Pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) under the transboundary frameworl of the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC).

Virunga Massif

Gorilla conservation organizations conducted a survey of the Mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes conservation area, and found their number had increased by more than 25%. The Virunga Massif spreads over 174 square miles that stretch over three countries; Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mountain gorillas were once considered extinct. However today, the numbers of mountain gorillas have surpassed the 1000 individuals mark.

During the 2015 to 2016 Gorilla Census within the Virunga Massif, the population of the mountain gorillas was recorded to be 604 individuals up from just 480 mountain gorillas recorded in 2010.

Mountain Gorilla Conservation

The endangered mountain gorillas survive in only two habitats; the Virunga C0nservation Area and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Mountain gorillas are the only great apes in the wild that have registered an upward increase in the population. Dr. Kirsten of the Gorilla Doctors says that this is wonderful news. She notes that the total population of mountain gorillas is still small and it is critical to focus on gorilla conservation.