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Published: January 12th 2011
GREAT GORILLA NEWS is that the population of this critically endagered species living in Africa's Virunga Massif has grown by whopping 26.3% to approximately 480 individuals in the past seven years.
According to a new census which was conducted in 2010, gorillas in the area are on the increase. The last mountain gorilla census of the Verunga region was done in 2003 whereby there was estimated to be around 380 individuals. It should be noted that the Virunga Massive encompases national parks in three neighboring countries:
Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Within Uganda is the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, an estimated 302 - 340 individuals survive. This number is not included in this years increase but is a totally separate number.
How is a census done?
During the 2010 census, six teams comprising of 72 people from each of the three countries systematically walked over 1,000 kilometers and throughout the entire mountain range systematically documenting fresh signs of mountain gorillas.
Fresh signs include night nests, fecal samples (which were sent for analysis) are sent for testing to ensure that double counting does not take place.
The teams have so far counted a total of: 480 mountain gorilla individual which is broken down into 36 bands and 14 solitary silverbacks (adult males over the age of 13) in the Virunga Massive.
of the 480 gorillas, 352 (72%) are habituated!!! three were solitary males and 128 indivuduals are un habituated.
Fecal samples are also being tested to ensure that the current population of mountain gorillas is healthy, the genetic composition, gorilla distribution and population dynamics. During 2011, a full report including human disturbance will be available.
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