Mountain gorillas off 'critically endangered' list in rare recovery

GOMA, Congo (Reuters) - Central African mountain gorillas came off the 'critically endangered' species list on Thursday following a rare and dramatic recovery in numbers over the past decade.

Reuters November 16, 2018 03:05:38 IST
Mountain gorillas off 'critically endangered' list in rare recovery

Mountain gorillas off critically endangered list in rare recovery

GOMA, Congo (Reuters) - Central African mountain gorillas came off the 'critically endangered' species list on Thursday following a rare and dramatic recovery in numbers over the past decade.

A survey this year found numbers had jumped to 1,000 individuals, from 680 in 2008, enabling scientists to reclassify them as 'endangered'.

"Even though the rise of the mountain gorilla population is fantastic news, the species is still in danger and conservation efforts must go on," Liz Williamson, primate specialist for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said.

The IUCN classifies species according to how much under threat they are, and numbers for most high-profile ones are falling.

The legendary 'silverback' gorillas -- which roam forest-cloaked volcanoes of the Western Rift Valley where Rwanda, Congo and Uganda meet -- have drawn thousands of tourists willing to pay hundreds of dollars to see them. Their habitat also supports other species found nowhere else, including golden monkeys.

But they are limited to two protected areas: the Virunga Massif, spanning all three countries, and Uganda's Bwindi national park. Both are surrounded by farmland where a growing human population threatens encroachment.

They are also under threat from poachers, civil unrest and diseases, including the Ebola virus.

"The biggest threat to the mountain gorilla population would be a new and highly contagious disease, because that would be very hard to control," Williamson told Reuters.

Andrew Seguya from the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration said the rising number of gorillas also means a need to expand their habitat and to raise more money for the communities in the area.

"While the downlisting ...shows our efforts are working, we must not sit back, we must do a lot more," Seguya said.

(Reporting by Fiston Mahamba; Writing and additional reporting by Juliette Jabkhiro in Dakar; Editing by Tim Cocks and John Stonestreet)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.