2018 Census reveals that Mountain Gorillas are continuing to increase in number

Nyampazi’s baby, Masanyu from Mubare gorilla group in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

 

Habitat loss, poaching and zoonotic diseases remain leading threats to the survival of mountain gorillas, which are found in two isolated populations, the Bwindi-Sarambwe ecosystem and Virunga Massif.

In 2018, Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) joined other partners in conservation to carry out a census of mountain gorillas and other large mammals in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Today, the Minister of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon. Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu released the census results with partners in a press conference that took place at Serena Hotel in Kampala, Uganda.

Hon. Prof Ephraim Kamuntu announcing the results.

 

We are delighted to let you know that mountain gorillas are continuing to increase in number. The 2018 survey counted a minimum of 459 mountain gorillas, the largest number of mountain gorillas ever recorded in the transboundary Bwindi-Sarambwe ecosystem. The survey also found an increase in other large mammals, including chimpanzees and elephants.

Former CTPH volunteer, Leo Strutt (2nd from right) in a group photo with other partners during census in 2018

 

When combined with the latest count of 604 mountain gorillas from the Virunga Massif, the global figure of known mountain gorillas increases to 1,063!

This is the fifth population count for the Bwindi area of 331 square kilometres in Uganda and the first to include the adjoining Sarambwe Nature Reserve of 9 square kilometres in DRC.

Group photo of partners at the gorilla census results sharing meeting.

 

The 2018 census was done under the leadership of Protected Area Authorities in Uganda (Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (l’Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature-ICCN).

UWA and ICCN work under the transboundary framework of the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration. The census was supported by the Rwanda Development Board, International Gorilla Conservation Programme (a coalition of Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International and WWF), Mammalian Ecology and Conservation Unit (MECU) of the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation, Gorilla Doctors, Conservation Through Public Health, Wildlife Conservation Society Uganda Country Office, WWF Uganda Country Office, and Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Trust. The census was funded by Fauna & Flora International, WWF, and Partners in Conservation at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.

Dr Gladys with Bwindi Chief Park Warden Pontious Ezuma (L), ITFC Director Dr Robert Bitariho and IGCP Director Anna Behm Masozera (R) at the Gorilla Census meeting

 

We are very grateful for the continued support of all our partners in conservation, donors and local communities living around mountain gorilla habitats, which has enabled increased law enforcement, wildlife monitoring, veterinary care and meaningful community engagement through improved health care, sustainable tourism and other alternative livelihood options.

Without you, this positive growth trend in mountain gorillas would not have been achieved which has led to their IUCN status changing in 2018 from Critically endangered to Endangered.

With your support, we look forward to doubling our efforts to maintain this exciting trend.

Thank you very much

Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka
CTPH Founder & CEO

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