The steady increase of the mountain gorilla population has made gorillas no longer critically endangered. Despite in the past when mountain gorillas were facing extinction, the rare species have slowly but steadily rebounded counting to over 1000 species at present. The change of status came after the release of 2018 gorilla census, which indicated an increase in the number of gorillas from 680 in 2008 to over 1000 species at present. The International Union for the conservation of nature based in Switzerland has therefore upgraded mountain gorillas from being “critically endangered “ to “endangered”. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is an international conservation body responsible for monitoring the level at which world’s leading animal and plant species are preserved based on the evidence and analysis of experts. However, despite the upgrade, mountain gorillas are still placed under the “endangered” category due to various dangers that still threaten them to reproduce. More conservation efforts are therefore required to protect the endangered species since they are still threatened and could slip back very quickly. Travelers to see mountain gorillas travel deep into the rain forest national parks in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thanks to governments and respective tourism bodies for their tireless efforts towards conservation, which has made progress in terms of their protection and allow an environment where mountain gorillas can continue to thrive and grow.
Mountain gorillas were included in the red list of “critically endangered” in 2008 when only 680 individuals were found in the wild. This year, gorilla numbers have increased by approximately 50%. Conservation of mountain gorillas has been since the time of Dian Fossey; the population of mountain gorillas has been slowly increasing. Several factors have enabled mountain gorillas to survive and increase, these include among others:
Firstly, gorilla population increase is greatly attributed to tireless conservation efforts by Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda (UWA), Rwanda Development Board in Rwanda (RDB) and the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The respective tourism government bodies have done great to sensitive local people about the benefits of gorilla conservation as well as involving local people in conservation efforts. Half of the world’s mountain gorillas live in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest while the remaining population dwells in the Virunga conservation area shared by Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo.
What about Fin Whales.
Besides mountain gorillas, the fin whale (Balarnoptera physalus) has also been upgraded from being “endangered” to “vulnerable”. Fin whales have doubled since 1970 to over 100,000 species all attributed to the ban on their industrial scale in the southern hemisphere and northern Pacific.
Difference between endangered and critically endangered species
Are you wondering the difference between “endangered” and “critically endangered” species? Endangered species are organisms that face a great risk of extinction in the near future. The population of such organisms is carefully watched and different strategies applied to protect them from any harm. The examples of animals categorized as endangered include Mexican Wolf, African penguin, African wild dog, common chimpanzee, loggerhead sea turtle, wild water buffalo, Vietnamese pheasant, Malagasy pond heron, Japanese night heron, Hispid hare, eastern lowland gorillas, Blue whale, bonobo, common chimpanzee, volcano rabbit and now mountain gorillas among others.
On the other hand, critically endangered species are those species, which face an extremely high risk of extinction in the immediate future. The population of these species deteriorates every day with no sign of increasing. The examples of critically endangered species include Brazilian merganser, Sumatran orangutan, Philippine crocodile, Chinese alligator, Cross River gorillas, Arabian leopard, Brown Spider monkey, Blue-fronted lorikeet, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and Sumatran Orangutan among others.
In general, the upgrade of mountain gorillas from “critically endangered” to “endangered” is good news for tourism and conservation. With gorilla rise, there is a great assurance of increased gorilla safaris to Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo in the near future bringing in increased foreign exchange.