There is good news around the future of mountain gorillas, thanks to decades of tireless work from dedicated conservationists and communities.
According to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and the contiguous Sarambwe Nature Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the mountain gorilla population in the forest has grown to 459. This brings the confirmed number of mountain gorillas globally to 1063, providing evidence that conservation efforts to protect the planet’s greatest apes are working and their prospects are improving. In 2018, the status of mountain gorillas was changed from critically endangered to endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, thanks to an increase in their numbers.
It did not deliver uniformly good news, however, as illegal activities in the Bwindi-Sarambwe ecosystem have not declined since 2011, despite significant enforcement and community engagement efforts. The teams destroyed 88 snares during the 2018 survey, roughly the same number as in 2011. The conservationists who penned the report cautioned that the Bwindi-Sarambwe ecosystem is still vulnerable to human disturbance, listing its relatively small area, limited core interior, climate change, dependency of surrounding human community on park resources, and other human-wildlife conflicts as present threats to the gains achieved to date.
“These survey results are undoubtedly good news, yet mountain gorillas remain threatened with extinction,” said Matt Walpole, senior director of conservation programmes at Fauna & Flora International. “Fauna & Flora International has been working with our partners to protect mountain gorillas for more than 40 years and we are not complacent. We have to remain vigilant against threats and build on the success achieved to date by ensuring resources – including from tourism – are properly directed to mountain gorillas and local communities.”
Further information on Fauna & Flora International is available here.