More Gorillas Than We Thought

The Wildlife Conservation Society released a new study today saying they’ve counted 125,000 western lowland gorillas in northern Republic of Congo. That’s the highest density ever reported. Scientific American says that in the 1980s the estimate was only 50,000.

But everyone thought their numbers were severely diminished since then by people hunting the gorillas for bushmeat and by ebola. WCS called this find a “motherlode.” These gorillas are shy. WCS got their number by counting gorilla nests, which these primates build each night to sleep in.

Gorillas everywhere are under huge threat. The western lowland gorilla is one of four sub-species. Biologists already thought this one was the most plentiful. The others are in far worse shape, some with only a few hundred left.

It’s important not to confuse this relatively stable and sparsely populated country with its bigger neighbor the Democratic Republic of Congo, where rebels killd two people by rebels in in June and seven gorillas last year.

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