According to results just released, the mountain gorilla population living in the Virunga mountains has grown— from 480 in 2010 to 604 as of June 2016. Combined with a separate mountain gorilla population living in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, this brings the number of mountain gorillas just over 1,000 individuals.
This reconfirms the mountain gorillas’ status as the only wild ape population whose numbers are known to be increasing, and research shows the increase is due to the type of intensive daily protection provided by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and the park authorities of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The census results are exciting, but due to their tiny numbers and the high level of threats mountain gorillas still face, continued protection is critical and MUST continue permanently for the species to survive.
And other types of gorillas – such as Grauer’s gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo – aren’t faring as well. Grauer’s gorillas have seen an estimated 77% of their population disappear in the past 20 years.
During the time Dian Fossey worked with the mountain gorillas it was thought they would be extinct by the year 2000, so this continued growth – based on the work that she started over 50 years ago – proves that what we do works.
But it also demonstrates the significant investments of time, money, and global attention that are also required for conservation to be successful.
That’s why we’re building the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund – a new hub for gorilla conservation in Rwanda. This multi-acre, purpose- built campus will be the new home for our Karisoke Research Center and house our world-recognized conservation, research, and community activities, as well as expanded laboratories, classrooms for training and public education, meeting spaces, a library and computer lab, an interactive public exhibit, and housing for visiting researchers and students.
Conservation takes a community. The mountain gorilla story shows that all of us must be committed to wildlife protection and preservation for the long haul if we want endangered species like gorillas, rhinos, elephants, and tigers to survive.
Once these spectacular animals are gone, they’re gone forever, so the time to act to protect them is RIGHT NOW. When you make conservation a priority today, you help protect vulnerable species for generations to come. I hope we can count on your continued support for the road ahead. With this high level effort of conservation gorilla tourism is also increased and Congo gorilla permits and Congo safari tours are on high demand to international travelers.