Mountain Gorilla numbers are finally rising, with the native population now over the 1,000 mark.
Mountain Gorilla numbers in the Congo have now increased by 25% since 2010, a figure which comes as a delight to environmentalists and conservationists alike. This monumental occurrence has taken place in spite of many challenges facing the species. Mountain Gorillas have been poached and slaughtered for years, both for food (bushmeat), traditional medicine and hunting trophies (hands and feet are particularly popular on the black market).
According to Reuters:
“The latest census put them at 1,004 individuals: 604 in Virunga, and 400 in Uganda’s nearby Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Joel Wenga Malembe, spokesman for the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature stated.
The last survey, in 2010, found just 786 of this critically endangered eastern gorilla sub-species, of which 480 were in Virunga.”
Whether the change has come from increased protection and observation, or through other means remains unclear, but it’s certain that the results are to be taken as a sign that change is possible.
Several months ago it was observed that some mountain gorillas had learned how to dismantle hunters’ traps.
“These numbers are truly remarkable, far exceeding our expectations, and are the result of a collaborative, three-country effort with governments and partners all playing an important role,” – Mike Cranfield, of charity Gorilla Doctors
The fight isn’t over yet, especially with the increase in habitat loss and potential mining and deforestation projects taking place in the area, but it’s small victories such as this which will help those who are fighting to protect this species carry on.