One, two, and now three mountain gorilla groups in Virunga National Park have been found and all members accounted for.
Over the last week, Virunga National Park has redeployed rangers to track the habituated mountain gorilla groups within the Mikeno Sector after what is now a month of rebel movements and heavy fighting between the rebels and the army. Rangers have made contact and found all members of the Humba, Munyaga and the Kabirizi gorilla groups. Even the lone silverback, Mukunda, was spotted. This is great news as the status of the mountain gorillas in the park has been of great concern the past month.
Here are the reports direct from the park:
June 8 Kabirizi family: http://gorillacd.org/2012/06/08/kabirizi-family-found-rugendo-family-still-missing/
A map of Mikeno sector and the general home ranges for the habituated mountain gorillas and general location of the M23 rebel group. Map produced by Virunga National Park.
Fighting still rages in the Bikenge and Jomba areas of Mikeno Sector, so the remaining three habituated groups of mountain gorillas are still under threat, as well as the numerous unhabituated groups of mountain gorillas who range in Mikeno Sector. But the news of the mountain gorillas found in the past week has brightened our outlook on the situation of gorillas in Mikeno Sector. The loss of even one mountain gorilla, a species that is critically endangered, is a huge set back to ensuring that the population numbers can continue to climb from the approximately 780 that exist in DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda.
Well done Virunga National Park, in very tough circumstances! Well done silverbacks that navigated their groups safe and sound amidst the insecurity.
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