Mountain gorillas are the only great apes facing population increase and many wonder how many mountain gorillas are in the wild and remain alive. Globally the total of mountain gorillas is estimated to be 1,063.
This is the highest population of mountain gorillas ever since their conservation. The total number reached that after the last census in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Sarambwe forest reserve.
Mountain gorillas live in two of their natural habitats and the total number is from the two. These are Bwindi forest and Virunga massif. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is situated in southwestern Uganda and the single largest gorilla habitat. It has 459 mountain gorillas from the previous census. However, with the several births after the census, the total is surely beyond that.
Virunga massif is a chain of mountains that traverse the borders of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mountains are inhabited by mountain gorillas but in three different parks each in one of the countries.
It is popular to refer to the mountain gorilla population as endangered, however, what does it mean and why are mountain gorillas endangered?
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN Red List) founded in 1964 is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species categorized mountain gorillas as endangered.
However, previously the mountain gorillas were categorized as critically endangered because of their risk of extinction.
With the increase in the number of mountain gorillas to over 800, they were moved from critically endangered to endangered. This was one step up the ladder and a success story to the conservationists.
Since 1902, when the mountain gorilla subspecies was discovered, the population has endured years of war, hunting, habitat destruction, and disease; threats so severe that it was once thought the mountain gorilla would be extinct by the end of the twentieth century. However, what was seen as a population at severe risk saw a bright future a couple of years ago because of the increasing numbers.
In a few instances, some people have confused endangered mountain gorillas as being dangerous. These two words have no connection and mountain gorillas are very gentle giants not known to be of harm to humans.
Being endangered is derived from the fact that their numbers are less according to the criteria used by IUCN Red List to categorize species.
With the increasing numbers of mountain gorillas, trekking is an activity you should prefer to have during Uganda safaris.
Here are some of the recommended itineraries that tourists can choose when going on the East Africa safari.