Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Recent census in war-torn DR Congo finds gorillas have survived, even increased

Date:
April 14, 2011
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
A census team has announced some encouraging news from a region plagued by warfare and insecurity: a small population of Grauer's gorillas has not only survived, but also increased since the last census.

A census team from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) has made a significant finding in Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Grauer's gorillas have increased in numbers in spite of years of insecurity in the region.
Credit: A. Plumptre/Wildlife Conservation Society.

A census team led by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Insitut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) in Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo has announced some encouraging news from a region plagued by warfare and insecurity: a small population of Grauer's gorillas has not only survived, but also increased since the last census.

Related Articles


The census, conducted late 2010 in the highland sector of Kahuzi-Biega National Park, revealed the presence of 181 individual Grauer's gorillas, up from 168 individuals detected in the same sector in 2004.

A "cousin" to the more famous mountain gorilla, the Grauer's gorilla is the largest subspecies of gorilla in the world, growing up to 500 pounds. The Grauer's gorilla (also known as the eastern lowland gorilla) is the least known subspecies, due in large part to the 15 years of insecurity in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The gorilla is listed as "Endangered" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN's) Red List and may number fewer than 4,000 individual animals.

"We had several close calls with armed militias during the survey," said Deo Kujirakwinja, WCS's Albertine Rift Coordinator in DRC. "Thankfully, no one was hurt, and our census result is positive news for the conservation community."

The census team surveyed the 600-square-kilometer highland sector of the park. The lowland sector has been largely inaccessible to researchers due to the frequent presence of militia. Census teams used nest counts -- gorillas make a nest each night -- along with the size of nearby dung (the size of which indicates how many adults, juveniles, and infants occur in a group) to estimate the total number of gorillas in the area.

"Given the insecurity that has been present here for so long, we were not sure what we would find," said Radar Nshuli, Chief Park Warden for Kahuzi-Biega. "We were very happy to see that all the efforts that our staff and partners have been taking are leading to a growth in the population."

The Wildlife Conservation Society's field staff have been monitoring the region's gorillas since the 1950s, when preeminent field biologist George Schaller first surveyed the distribution of what would later become classified as Grauer's and mountain gorillas. Since then, surveys have revealed that in the highland sector of Kahuzi Grauer's numbers climbed from 223 animals in the 1970s to 250 in the early 1990s before crashing to 130 in 2000 following the outbreak of civil war in the region.

"Given we were unable to survey the entire highland sector, we are hopeful that our minimum count of 181 might actually be higher than this," said Dr. Andy Plumptre, Director of WCS's Albertine Rift Program. "We hope to be able to survey some of the areas we were unable to visit in the near future."

"This census finding gives us great hope for the future of the Grauer's gorilla," said Dr. James Deutsch, Director of WCS's Africa Program. "It's also a testament to the courage of our colleagues working to protect a World Heritage site in this challenging landscape."

Grauer's gorillas are one of four recognized gorilla sub-species, which also include mountain gorillas, western lowland gorillas, and Cross River gorillas. The Wildlife Conservation Society is one of the only conservation groups working to safeguard all four subspecies.


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. "Recent census in war-torn DR Congo finds gorillas have survived, even increased." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414141406.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2011, April 14). Recent census in war-torn DR Congo finds gorillas have survived, even increased. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414141406.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "Recent census in war-torn DR Congo finds gorillas have survived, even increased." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414141406.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) A frog noticed by a conservationist on New York's Staten Island has been confirmed as a new species after extensive study and genetic testing. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A 20-year-old competition surfer said on Thursday he accidentally stepped on a shark's head before it bit him off the Australian east coast. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) The Ebola epidemic has seen Senegal and Guinea Bissau close its borders with Guinea and the economic consequences have started to be felt, especially in Fouta Djallon, where the renowned potato industry has been hit hard. Duration: 02:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 30, 2014) Just in time for Halloween, a glowing flower goes on display in Tokyo. Instead of sorcery and magic, its creators used science to genetically modify the flower, adding a naturally fluorescent plankton protein to its genetic mix. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
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