The number of mountain gorillas living in the Virunga Massif in central Africa has soared by 26.3% since 2003, according to a new census. The increase in numbers from 380 to 480 individuals is thanks to "immense" efforts to reduce poaching and disease, scientists said – but should not be read as a sign that the fight to save the highly endangered species is over. The 450-square-kilometre Virunga Massif is composed of three national parks: the Volcanoes national park in Rwanda – made famous by the film about the conservationist Dian Fossey, Gorillas in the Mist – the Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda and Parc National des Virunga in the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the census, which was conducted in March and April this year, its gorilla population is growing at a rate of 3.7% a year.
Entries in Mountain Gorillas (3)
A census of the world’s largest mountain gorilla population has counted 480 animals, an increase of 100 - more than a quarter - since the last count in 2003. The gorillas 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. A fourth park, southwestern Uganda’s Bwindi, is home to an additional 302 mountain gorillas, the only other remaining wild population, which together with four orphaned mountain gorillas in a sanctuary in the DRC brings the wild population to 786.
Worldwide, mountain gorillas are categorized as "endangered" and "critically endangered," with about 700 living in the in the Virunga mountain range of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. This is the only region where the mountain gorilla population is known to be increasing. Poaching and deforestation remain the biggest threats to their existence.