East African Mountain Gorilla population breaks 1000 in latest census

Mountain Gorilla

Wildlife conservationists work tirelessly to protect and conserve endangered species. The East African Mountain Gorilla has been a success!


In 1981, the East African Mountain Gorilla population was dwindling, it sat at a scary 242. Thanks to conservation efforts by world-famous Dian Fossey, their numbers began to increase and in 2016, the population was 604. Last week the good news of the latest census was released and the ‘Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International’ confirmed the population to be well of 1000 now.

The funds’ work plays an integral role in protecting the gorillas and educating the locals about them. Just a few weeks ago, Ellen and her wife Portia travelled to Rwanda to establish a permanent building at the Dian Fossey Centre.

The fund confirmed that the East African population is “the only wild ape population whose numbers are known to be increasing”. This is due largely to “intensive daily protection” provided by national park authorities and other conservationists. Proving that constant presence makes a big difference.

“All those working to protect mountain gorillas — the governments of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); conservation organizations; and local communities — have a lot to be proud of.” – Dr. Tara Stoinski, President, CEO, and Chief Scientific Officer of the Fossey Fund 

The population lives within the Virunga National Park and still faces various threats. From conflict in the DRC to people setting up snares to catch wild buck, there is constant work to be done. During the census, 380 snares were found and dismantled. In a statement, the Virunga National Park’s director and chief warden, Emmanuel de Merode discussed the hardships and celebrated the success.

“The continued growth of the mountain gorilla population is a fervent reminder of the importance of continued conservation strategies. In light of hardships the Park has suffered, this news is incredibly important to us.”

The conservation efforts includes collaboration with the local governments, NGO’s and wildlife conservation organisations.

“This is fabulous news for mountain gorillas and shows what we can do for wildlife when NGOs, governments and their communities work together,” Margaret Kinnaird, Wildlife Practice Leader at WWF, said in a statement.

“However, the high number of snares encountered and the numerous other threats they face including climate change indicate that the battle is far from won. The three gorilla range countries and their partners must continue to work together to safeguard the Virunga Massif — not only for the protection of these incredible creatures but also for the welfare of the local people with whom they share the landscape. The mountain gorilla story can be a model for how to restore and maintain our earth’s precious biodiversity.”

Through all these efforts, we can celebrate the happy news regarding the boom in populations.

Sources: Mongabay
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Tyler Vivier
Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy. Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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