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    Conservation Efforts Pay off for African Mountain Gorillas


    by NTDTelevision

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    The African mountain gorilla population is recovering in Rwanda. Intensive conservation efforts in Rwanda and neighboring African states iare beginning to pay off - and its none too soon for one of the world's most endanged species.

    Rwanda's Virunga Massif, home to the rare mountain gorilla - one of the most endangered species on earth - but one that is showing signs of recovery.

    The latest gorilla census here shows a sharp increase in their numbers, according to the head of tourism and conservation.

    [Rica Rwigamba, Rwanda Development Board]:
    "In terms of numbers we are looking at 480 mountain gorillas compared to 380 mountain gorillas which was the result in the last census in 2003."

    This mountain range straddles Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and all three countries have spent the last two years increasing efforts to protect the gorilla population - clamping down on the loss of habitat and hunting.

    [Rica Rwigamba, Rwanda Development Board]:
    "As we speak to you today the same exercise is actually happening in the other two countries, it is really proof that this is working and what we would say is that we are committed as Rwanda but also as the region in our joint efforts to protect our mountain gorillas."

    Gorilla trekking generates 90 percent of Rwanda's tourism revenue - more than $175 million a year.

    The number allowed to get this close to the animals is tightly controlled so an increase in the gorilla population will not increase that revenue but at least the tourist can rest assured that their money is successfully helping to protect some of the world's rarest great apes.