Gorilla and chimpanzee populations in Central Africa continue to decline due to poaching, habitat loss and disease. National parks and reserves in six range countries protect only 21 percent of western lowland gorillas and central chimpanzees, according to a new report.
One of the largest oil and gas development companies in the world, Total SA, has committed to keeping out of all natural World Heritage Sites around the globe, including Virunga National Park. But one company that is not respecting World Heritage status is Soco International PLC, which plans to continue to explore in Virunga - home to more than half of the world’s mountain gorilla population.
A population increase for mountain gorillas is proof that the intense and innovative efforts of the conservation community are bringing positive change. A recent census by the Uganda Wildlife Authority identified 400 mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park bringing the overall population estimate to 880, an increase from the 786 estimated in 2010.
Gorillas, the largest living primates, make their homes in central Africa. Poaching, disease and habitat destruction remain threats for gorillas, and WWF is working to designate new protected areas where populations can thrive.