19 January 2004
A new survey shows the population of rare and endangered mountain gorillas in Central Africa has risen over the last 15 years.
In the first complete census since 1989, conservationists report there are now 380 mountain gorillas roaming the Virunga Highlands straddling Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. That number is up 17 percent from 324.
In addition to the Virunga Highland gorillas, there are about 320 other mountain gorillas in Uganda's Bwindi National Park - putting the total number at about 700.
War and instability generated by the 1994 genocide in Rwanda has made it impossible for conservationists to conduct population estimates of the rare mountain gorillas - made famous by the late primatologist Diane Fossey.
Monday's survey was conducted by conservationists from Rwanda, Uganda, the DRC and experts from Ms. Fossey's gorilla fund.