Gorilla baby boom gives hope to conservationists

Kampala, Sep 1 (efe-epa).- At least five mountain gorillas have been born in the last six weeks at a national park in southwestern Uganda, authorities announced on Tuesday.

Conservationists welcomed the news of the new arrivals at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park as the endangered species is only found in this region.

Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, a veterinarian and founder of the organization Conservation Through Public Health, told EFE: “This is very hopeful news in the middle of a difficult time, since with the fall in tourism due to Covid-19 many Ugandans have lost their means of livelihood and poaching has increased.”

The Uganda Wildlife Authority said the births were part of a “baby boom” of gorillas that rangers at the national park have been registering since late April.

Mountain gorillas are an endemic species in the mountain range that marks the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The population of these primates has increased during the past decades thanks to the efforts of environmental authorities from these three countries as well as non-governmental organizations and forest rangers.

There are currently more than 1,060 mountain gorillas, according to the latest census which was published at the end of 2019.

Jordi Galbany, a primatologist at the University of Barcelona working on the Rwandan-Ugandan border, told Efe: “I think we should celebrate the last few births as another victory to preserve the future of the species. This is very positive news.”

He added: “Currently, mountain gorillas are the only great apes whose populations are increasing.

“However, we cannot fall asleep, we must remain alert because mountain gorilla populations are still small and very localized.”

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