A welcome conservation success story for this critically endangered species
Yesterday, researchers working in the Virunga Massif – an area split between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – announced the results of their recently completed mountain gorilla census, the ninth undertaken since the early 1970s. Back then, mountain gorillas were “on the very precipice of extinction”, says Alison Mollon, Director of Operations for Africa at Fauna & Flora International. At its lowest point, in 1981, the Virunga population numbered just 242 individuals. But this has now increased to a remarkable 604, which – combined with the more than 400 mountain gorillas that were estimated to survive in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park at the time of its last census, which took place in 2011 – takes the species population into four figures for the first time since reliable records began.