Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Uganda's Mountain Gorillas Increase In Number

Date:
April 22, 2007
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
The most recent census of mountain gorillas in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park -- one of only two places in the world where the rare gorillas exist -- has found that the population has increased by six percent since the last census in 2002, according to researchers.

According to the census, which also successfully used for the first time genetic samples from fecal specimens, Bwindi's gorilla population now numbers 340 individual gorillas, up from 320 in 2002, and 300 in 1997.
Credit: Copyright WCS

The most recent census of mountain gorillas in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park--one of only two places in the world where the rare gorillas exist--has found that the population has increased by 6 percent since the last census in 2002, according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Max Planck Institute of Anthropology and other groups that participated in the effort.

"This is great news for all of the organizations that have worked to protect Bwindi and its gorilla population," said Wildlife Conservation Society researcher Dr. Alastair McNeilage, who is also the director of the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation in Bwindi. "There are very few cases in this world where a small population of a endangered primates is actually increasing."

According to the census, which also successfully used for the first time genetic samples from fecal specimens, Bwindi's gorilla population now numbers 340 individual gorillas, up from 320 in 2002, and 300 in 1997.

The census was conducted between April and June 2006 to determine the size and makeup of the Bwindi population, in addition to their distribution and to gauge human impacts on the gorillas. During that time, survey teams set out with the intention of counting every family group in the population, a method possible only with small animal populations in a relatively small area; Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is approximately 127 square miles in size.

In addition to census methodologies such as counting trails and nests (gorillas construct a nest each night), researchers used genetic analyses as well, specifically because many of the groups were clustered in the same area of the park, which presented survey teams with the risk of double-counting the same individuals or groups. DNA analysis, however, allowed individuals to be identified and distinguished, even among groups which have never been seen by people. Fecal specimens were analyzed at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

Researchers were encouraged by the overall growth of the population, showing an annual increase of one percent over the past decade. The age composition of the population shows a healthy distribution of adult and immature classes, including infants and juveniles. Other findings are that gorillas are not using the eastern side of the park, a possible result of human disturbances there. Particularly encouraging, however, is that one group of gorillas are starting to use the northern sector of the park for the first time in living memory.

Bwindi is also home to a thriving gorilla ecotourism program, which generates much needed foreign revenue for Uganda annually by bringing paying travelers into the company of mountain gorillas. Four of the 30 family groups are habituated for tourism, or conditioned to tolerate the presence of humans for short durations.

The other mountain gorilla stronghold is located just south of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the Virunga Volcanoes on the borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The last census of the Virunga gorilla population in 2003 revealed 380 gorillas, up from 324 individuals counted in the previous census in 1989. In spite of incursions by farmers and rebels into the parks, and a few recent poaching events, Virungas' mountain gorillas are persisting as well, thanks to sustained conservation efforts by the guards and staff members within that landscape. The current total of mountain gorillas at both locations brings the worldwide tally to approximately 720 individual animals.

The census benefited from the support and participation of the USAID PRIME West Project, Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation (ITFC), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Berggorilla und Regenwald Direkthilfe (BRD), Karisoke Research Centre (KRC), Office Rwandais de Tourisme et Parc Nationaux (ORTPN) and the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "Uganda's Mountain Gorillas Increase In Number." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070420143329.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2007, April 22). Uganda's Mountain Gorillas Increase In Number. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070420143329.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "Uganda's Mountain Gorillas Increase In Number." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070420143329.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins