Twin endangered mountain gorillas were born in northern Rwanda, it was reported Monday. It was only the sixth set of twins born in Rwanda in the last 40 years. “Itís uncommon among the population of gorillas, and very few cases of twins have been documented in the wild or captivity. The twins in Hirwa Group provide another opportunity for comparative research on this rare case of twining in primates, therefore continuing to get more knowledge and reference for gorilla research, and conservation in general,” said Prosper Uwingeli, the Chief Park Warden. (Source: Ecoworld.com)
There are less than 800 remaining mountain gorillas in the wild.
This number is actually up since 2003, when scientists and conservationists began efforts to reduce poaching. Many of these gorillas live in four national parks in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Congo (Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, Virunga National Park, and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park). Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda was made famous by the film “Gorillas in the Mist,” about the life and work of gorilla researcher Dian Fossey.
One of the reasons the mountain gorilla population is increasing there is the effort made beginning eight years ago, to beef up conservation patrols with more rangers using better equipment. Their presence and vigilance has decreased some of the poaching, and created a more stable environment for gorillas to live in and reproduce. While the area has been stabilized somewhat, there is still military conflict and poaching taking place. Recently, a number of wildlife rangers were killed along with some government officials in an attack in the Congo.
Rwanda’s gorillas draw many tourists each year from foreign countries. Last year $200 million dollars was made from tourism, which was an increase from the previous year of about 14 percent. The number one tourist activity was gorilla tracking.
Image Credit: Kurt Ackermann