Gorilla numbers up – Tourist numbers down

Despite fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the population of mountain gorillas continues to grow in the Greater Virunga region.

A new census shows the number of mountain gorillas in the Greater Virunga region has risen from 380 in 2003 to a current total of 880.

The mountain gorillas in Mugahinga and Bwindi national parks in Uganda, the Virunga national park in DRC and Volcanoes national park in Rwanda are among the world’s most endangered primates.

But despite the increase in the gorilla population the number of tourists visiting the region has fallen because tourism activities in the VirungaNational Park have been suspended due to continued fighting in eastern DRC which has made it impossible to guarantee the safety of tourists. This has led to a loss of foreign income earned from gorilla tracking permits.

The Greater Virunga region is also classified as one of the seven most important regions for bird conservation in Africa with a total of 37 endemic bird species.