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Uganda's mountain gorillas increase in number

ed at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

Researchers were encouraged by the overall growth of the population, showing an annual increase of one percent over the past decade. The age composition of the population shows a healthy distribution of adult and immature classes, including infants and juveniles. Other findings are that gorillas are not using the eastern side of the park, a possible result of human disturbances there. Particularly encouraging, however, is that one group of gorillas are starting to use the northern sector of the park for the first time in living memory.

Bwindi is also home to a thriving gorilla ecotourism program, which generates much needed foreign revenue for Uganda annually by bringing paying travelers into the company of mountain gorillas. Four of the 30 family groups are habituated for tourism, or conditioned to tolerate the presence of humans for short durations.

The other mountain gorilla stronghold is located just south of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the Virunga Volcanoes on the borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The last census of the Virunga gorilla population in 2003 revealed 380 gorillas, up from 324 individuals counted in the previous census in 1989. In spite of incursions by farmers and rebels into the parks, and a few recent poaching events, Virungas?mountain gorillas are persisting as well, thanks to sustained conservation efforts by the guards and staff members within that landscape. The current total of mountain gorillas at both locations brings the worldwide tally to approximately 720 individual animals.
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Source:Wildlife Conservation Society


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