Gorilla population stages mild comeback in war-torn Congo
"our census result is positive news for the conservation community,"
- Deo Kujirakwinja, WCS's Albertine Rift Coordinator in DRC
For the last decade and a half, gorilla populations in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo have been victimized by the fighting between warring militia factions. But in a surprise finding, researchers say that a small band of Grauer's gorillas living in the highland sector of Kahuzi-Biega National Park grew to 181 members compared with 168 detected in the same sector during a 2004 census.
A "cousin" to the more famous mountain gorilla, the Grauer's gorilla is the largest subspecies of gorilla in the world. The number of Grauer's gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega National Park has waxed and waned through the years, reaching a high of 250 in the early 1990s. Their numbers plummeted to 130 in 2000, following the outbreak of civil war in the region.