Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Surprising Number of Lowland Gorillas Discovered in Africa

Expand Messages
  • jonathonwithano
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20080805/sc_livescience/ surprisingnumberoflowlandgorillasdiscoveredinafrica Jeanna Bryner Senior Writer LiveScience.com
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 5, 2008
      http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20080805/sc_livescience/
      surprisingnumberoflowlandgorillasdiscoveredinafrica


      Jeanna Bryner
      Senior Writer
      LiveScience.com Tue Aug 5, 7:22 AM ET

      A new tally of lowland gorillas has found massive and surprising numbers of these African
      primates alive and well in the Republic of Congo, Wildlife Conservation Society scientists
      announced.

      The new census puts the number of western lowland gorillas (called great apes, along with
      chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans) within two adjacent areas in the northern part of
      the Congo at 125,000 individuals, including infant gorillas. The results were announced
      today during a press conference at the International Primatological Society Congress in
      Edinburgh, Scotland.

      Previous estimates from the 1980s placed the entire population of western lowland
      gorillas, which live in seven Central African nations, at fewer than 100,000 individuals.
      Sine then, scientists thought the number would've at least halved due to hunting and
      disease.

      Western lowland gorillas are one of four recognized gorilla sub-species, along with
      mountain gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas and Cross River gorillas. While the eastern
      lowland gorilla is considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of
      Nature (IUCN), the others are labeled "critically endangered," which means the group faces
      an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

      Counting apes

      With partial funding from admission fees to the Bronx Zoo's Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit,
      WCS researchers combed rainforests and isolated swamps to count gorilla "nests," which
      gorillas construct out of leaves and branches each night for a sleeping area.

      The researchers estimate 73,000 came from the Ntokou-Pikounda region and another
      52,000 from the Ndoki-Likouala landscape, which includes a previously unknown
      population of nearly 6,000 gorillas living in an isolated swamp.

      "We knew from our own observations that there were a lot of gorillas out there, but we had
      no idea there were so many," said Emma Stokes, who led the survey efforts in Ndoki-
      Likouala. "We hope that the results of this survey will allow us to work with the Congolese
      government to establish and protect the new Ntokou-Pikounda protected area."

      Ape conservation

      The researchers attribute the high numbers to successful long-term conservation tactics
      in the area; the remoteness and inaccessibility of the key gorilla hideouts; and a food-rich
      habitat.

      "These figures show that northern Republic of Congo contains the mother lode of gorillas,"
      said Steven E. Sanderson, WCS president and CEO. "It also shows that conservation in the
      Republic of Congo is working."

      For instance, WCS has worked with the Republic of Congo government in the northern area
      of the country for nearly 20 years. There, the cooperative effort helped to establish the
      Nouabale-Ndoki National Park and manage the Lac Tele Community Reserve, while
      working with logging companies outside of protected areas to reduce illegal hunting.
    • bobutne
      That is truly amazing, if factual. In 2002, I experienced a western lowland gorilla encounter in La Lope Reserve, Gabon. I ll never forget the female gorilla s
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 5, 2008
        That is truly amazing, if factual.

        In 2002, I experienced a western lowland gorilla encounter in La Lope
        Reserve, Gabon. I'll never forget the female gorilla's screams of fear
        while she slid down a very tall tree. At the same time, her near-by
        mate (unseen through the thick forest) was roaring deeply and loudly
        enough to practically shake the jungle floor.

        Based on their extremely fearful reactions, I surmised that this couple
        had prior experience with humans and, most likely, evidenced the
        death/s of members of their family caused by hunters/poachers.

        My reaction- gorillas and humans do not mix. Live and let live, s.v.p.
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.