An estimated 125 000 Western Lowland Gorillas have been discovered living in a remote swampy area of Northern Congo. The area is inaccessible and has good food sources which together with government initiatives have surely saved these animals.
It would appear that this is the highest population of Gorillas ever found. Having said that, the threats that face these reclusive and shy creatures today are overwhelming, and efforts to work with the Congolese government and sponsors to protect these animals must continue unabated.
Researchers acting on the tip-off, made the arduous journey on foot to this swamp forest of equatorial Africa. They did see some of the Gorillas and recorded the number of nests in the vicinity, a basis for estimation as each Gorilla makes a fresh nest every night.
These critically endangered gorillas are at the highest level of threat. At the last count conducted some time back in the 1980s it was estimated that 100 000 Gorillas were left world wide. Over the years it is thought that this number had declined by at least half.
This is an alarming statistic considering that these Western Lowland Gorillas are the widest ranging and most numerous of the subspecies, in fact each of the 4 subspecies is facing extinction, followed closely by the worlds population of primates like monkeys and apes now also in dire straits especially in Asia.
Western Lowland Gorillas are found in the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Nigeria. Their numbers are declining due to extensive hunting and the transmission of deadly diseases like Ebola hemorrhagic fever.
Other subspecies of Gorilla are also suffering through habitat loss, poaching, war conditions (attacks from rebels) and disease. Years of dedicated conservation work, education initiatives and the establishment of national parks over the decades have yielded results in some areas, but the daily challenge continues for many conservationists world wide to highlight and spur global action in this environmental crisis.
This exciting Lowland Gorilla discovery has gained worldwide attention for Gorilla conservation which will delight animal lovers and conservationists alike.