Births Reported in Endangered Mountain Gorilla Population
Ten Mountain Gorilla births occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) since the onset of civil unrest 18 months ago, according to reports received today. "With only some 600 Mountain Gorillas left in the world, this gorilla baby boom represents the miraculous ability of African wildlife to bounce back despite extraordinary chaos," says African Wildlife Foundation President, Michael Wright.
Mountain Gorillas are found only in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Many of the births in DRC have occurred in families that have been violently upset in the past three years due to the conflict that continues throughout the region. The reports from Goma say, five of the ten births have been reported in "Luwawa's family." Luwawa, a silverback male, was killed in 1995.
"Thanks in large part to the efforts of local park authorities in partnership with International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP), hope remains for these critically endangered animals," said Wright. The IGCP* is a coalition that has been implementing an emergency program to protect the mountain gorillas in DRC: rehabilitating park buildings destroyed in the conflict; re-equipping park guards; training park staff to effectively track and monitor the status of the gorilla groups and to protect them against poaching; and working with communities surrounding the parks to help protect the mountain gorilla's remaining habitat. This emergency program was initiated in DRC with support from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and World Wide Fund for Nature-Netherlands, and will continue in DRC and Rwanda with generous contributions from The Barbara Delano Foundation of San Francisco and an anonymous donor.
*The IGCP is a coalition of the African Wildlife Foundation (U.S.), Fauna and Flora International (UK) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (Switzerland).