KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) --
A new census report showed that the number of the
endangered mountain gorillas in the Virunga Massif shared by
Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has
increased to 604 from 480 in 2010.
According to a joint
report issued by the three countries on May 31, this is the
largest number of mountain gorillas ever recorded in the
transboundary, one of the two remaining areas where mountain
gorillas can be found in the world. The other is Uganda’s Bwindi
Impenetrable National Park.
“In the area
encompassing the Mikeno Sector of Virunga National Park in DRC,
Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and Mgahinga Gorilla National
Park in Uganda, referred to as the Virunga Massif, 604
individual gorillas were found in 41 groups and as 14 solitary
males,” the report said.
“This is compared
with an estimated 480 individual gorillas in 36 groups and as 14
solitary males from a survey of the same area in 2010,” the
Combined with the
published figure of 400 mountain gorillas from Bwindi
Impenetrable National Park in 2011, an estimated 1,004 mountain
gorillas existed in the wild as of June 2016.
Although the census
was carried out in 2016, the results were published on Thursday
due to the time needed to conduct the genetic analysis from
fecal samples collected non-invasively from mountain gorilla
night nest sites.
“The process of
genetic analysis of the samples, while taking time, offers the
most reliable results,” the report said.
attributed the increase to the effectiveness of conservation
policies and strategies, such as regulated tourism, daily
protection and veterinary interventions.
There has also been
intensive law enforcement, community conservation projects, and
transboundary collaboration among government institutions and
“These results are a
testament to the tireless effort of the rangers and trackers who
daily protect and monitor mountain gorillas and their habitat,
including those that have been killed in the line of duty,”
Bashir Hangi, an official of Uganda Wildlife Authority, told
Xinhua on Friday.
Hangi said there is
a need for consistent conservation efforts, noting that the
habitat of the gorillas is threatened by climate change, human
activities and the risk of disease transmission.
are a major source of tourism revenue in Uganda, responsible for
a large portion of the 1.35 billion U.S. dollars the country
earned from tourism in 2016, according to government figures.