11 December 2010

The gorillas are coming!

As humans continue to despoil the planet, making life ever more difficult for so many of our fellow species, it is nice to get the occasional piece of good news. Thus I was delighted to read in the Guardian that the mountain gorillas living in the Virunga Massif in central Africa are experiencing a population boom. At a growth rate of 3.7 per cent a year, their numbers have increased from 380 to 480 since 2003. With 300 more in Bwindi Impenetrable national park in Uganda, there are now 780 mountain gorillas in total living in the wild.

More and better-paid park rangers, offering local people livelihoods that reduce trespass on gorilla territory, and closer monitoring by veterinarians has significantly reduced the incidence of poaching and disease.

I feel good for these great, shambling beasts. Long harassed by us, their fellow primates, they deserve a break. So mate on, cousins, may your generations multiply.

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