Friday, 4 May 2018

Gorillas are far more numerous than previously thought, survey reveals

Larger-than-expected population in Africa gives hope for species survival, scientists say, but animal remains critically endangered

Damian Carrington Environment editor
Wed 25 Apr 2018 19.00 BSTLast modified on Wed 25 Apr 2018 22.00 BST

There are far more gorillas left in the world than previously thought, according to a landmark new survey, with numbers as much as double earlier estimates.

However, their populations are continuing to fall fast, down 20% in just eight years, leaving them critically endangered. Furthermore, 80% of the remaining gorilla troops do not live in protected areas, leaving them vulnerable to the threats the researchers summarise as “guns, germs and [felled] trees”.

The decade-long survey in western equatorial Africa involved almost 9,000km of foot patrols and used the nests that gorillas make every night to assess the population. The scientists covered the entire range of the western lowland gorilla, which accounts for 99% of all living gorillas, now thought to number around 360,000 animals.

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