The Wildlife Conservation Society Find Mother Lode Of Gorillas

Armen Hareyan's picture

The world’s population of critically endangered western lowland gorillas has received a huge boost. A new, groundbreaking census released by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) shows massive numbers of these secretive great apes alive and well in the Republic of Congo.

In addition, the researchers discovered the highest gorilla densities ever recorded, as high as eight individuals in an area smaller than half a square mile.

Together with the government of Congo, WCS has tallied more than 125,000 western gorillas in two adjacent areas of the northern part of the country.

The startling discovery brings new hope for the critically endangered western lowland gorilla, which had been previously thought to number fewer than 50,000 across the species’ entire range. WCS released the census results at a press conference on August 5, 2008 at the International Primatological Society Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The new census was the result of intensive fieldwork carried out by WCS and the Government of Republic of Congo. Across an area covering 18,000 square miles, researchers tracked the animals by counting their nests, which nomadic gorillas build each evening to sleep in before rising the next morning in search of browse and a new overnight campsite.

WCS is one of the only organizations working to protect all four gorilla subspecies, each of which is threatened by extinction. Read about our projects to save western lowland and other gorillas throughout their range in Africa.

By Wildlife Conservation Society

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