A census in March and April 2010 of the world’s largest mountain gorilla population has counted 480 animals, an increase of 100 since the last count in 2003. The gorillas (Gorilla berengei berengei) surveyed live in Central Africa’s Virunga Massif region, a volcanic mountain ecosystem consisting of three adjacent national parks spanning parts of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and Rwanda.
The current tally represents an annual growth rate of 3.7% in Virunga despite the illegal killing of no less than nine mountain gorillas in the area over the past seven years. The only other remaining wild population of 302 mountain gorillas live in southwestern Uganda’s Bwindi national park. Together with four orphaned mountain gorillas in a sanctuary in the DRC the wild population now adds up to 786 specimens. This proves the effect of strong law enforcement efforts to safeguard animals on species conservation. Unfortunately, the mountain gorilla is the only one of the nine subspecies of African great apes experiencing a population increase. So, celebrating this collective achievement is allowed, but increased efforts to safeguard the remaining eight subspecies of great apes are needed. (Source: WWF, 07.12.2010)