The number of mountain gorillas living in the wild rose by 100 in the past seven years, according to preliminary results of a census by Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
There were 480 alive as of April, according to a statement released today by a secretariat on gorillas established by conservation authorities from the three countries in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.
The endangered primates are found in Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park, the Virunga park in Congo and the Mgahinga and Bwindi parks in Uganda. The principal threats to the gorilla population is disease and poaching, where gorillas end up in traps set for other animals.
“It is in rare cases that poachers target gorillas, because they are rare species and can be traced back,” Tom Sengalama, head of the secretariat, said in the statement.
The total world population, including those in captivity, is 786 individuals, according to the statement.
Gorillas are the leading attraction in Rwanda’s tourism, a sector expected to generate $187 million this year, according to the Tourism Board. Tourism is Rwanda’s biggest earner of foreign exchange, according to government information.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at email@example.com.