The mountain gorilla is not a species that receives a lot of good news. The gorillas, whose numbers have been reduced to just 700, have been devastated by illegal poaching and the spread of ebola.
But this year, wildlife conservationists in Uganda, home to 400 of the 700 remaining gorillas, have discovered three new-borns in the past 3 months, signaling a “baby boom” among Uganda’s gorillas.
“Over the last 10 years, Uganda has been leading in the conservation of the mountain gorilla. We believe that the pristine and safe habitat is the crucial link in the survival of the gorillas as well as their health and well being,” said Andrew Seguya, the executive director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
There are a number of threats to the gorillas that still exist. While stories of ebola among human populations have subsided, the disease, which is transmissible between gorillas as well, continues to spread and wreak havoc on lowland gorilla populations.
Illegal poaching, animal trade, loss of habitat, and war between neighboring humans continue to be the foremost threats to the mountain gorilla.
Northern Uganda continues to be a violent place with frequent attacks coming from the Lord’s Resistance Army. The Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, home of the other 300 mountain gorillas, continue to be rocked by civil war and sectarian violence.
In recent years, clashes between rebels and Uganda’s forest rangers have resulted in the deaths of at least 150 rangers.
But even with all of the violence, partnerships between Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo continue to bring hope to the mountain gorilla. The three nations have raised millions of dollars to save the gorillas and in Rwanda, 30,000 tourists come each year to see the mountain gorilla.
They’re far from being out of the woods in terms of their endangered species status, but this apparent baby boom spells good news for a species on the brink.