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    Survey Shows Mountain Gorilla Population on the Rise

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    A survey by the International Gorilla Conservation Program and the Uganda Wildlife Authority shows a recent increase in mountain gorillas.

    In a one national park, the population increased from 340 five years ago to 400 now.

    [Maria Mutagamwa, Uganda Tourism Ministry]
    In 2010 there were only 480 mountain gorillas in the Virunga Massif which comprises the Buhahinga Gorilla National park in Uganda, the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and the Virunga National park in the DRC. And now the 400 which have been confirmed in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is entirely in Uganda brings the total to 880, this means that Uganda is a host to more than half the world's population of mountain gorillas."

    Researchers say mountain gorillas are only found on the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The gorillas are confined to two forest blocks some 30 miles apart.

    Gladys Kalema, a conservationist at Uganda Wildlife Authority says the population increase quite significant for mountain gorillas.

    [Gladys Kalema, Conservationist, Uganda Wildlife Authority]
    "We want the number of gorillas to increase - unfortunately their inter-birth interval is once every four years which means that they can not increase so fast like human beings for example. We have babies every year that is why we are over-populated. But even if the number increase, where are they going to go? Bwindi is one of the most densely populated places in the world - Virunga Massif is even worse, some areas of Virunga you have 900 people per square kilometer, in Bwindi it goes up to 500 in some areas but it is mainly around three hundred. So getting buffer zones and buying areas around the park can really help."

    An earlier census by Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo established there were 480 gorillas between the two countries. This brings the total number of mountain gorillas in the three East Africa counties up to 880.

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