During the 1980's a census was conducted to count the number of Western lowland gorillas still living on Earth. At that time, scientists estimated about 100,000 of these gorillas existed. Since the census, it is believed that the number of gorillas had dwindled to 50,000.
Fortunately, a recent survey conducted in the Lac Tele Community Reserve in northern Congo uncovered a huge number of unaccounted for gorilla. Hunters in the area told researchers that they had spotted large clusters of gorillas living in the swamp forests on the outskirts of Lac Tele.
A researcher with the Primatological Society Congress in Scotland reported that this new community of gorillas is the highest-known density of the animals that has ever been discovered. Based on the number of gorilla nests spotted in the area, the researchers estimate that 125,000 Western lowland gorillas live in the swamp.
In spite of this good news, many scientists believe the gorillas will still be viewed as endangered because the threats to their survival are so severe. The ebola virus is wiping out gorillas populations throughout Africa. In addition, commercial logging and bushmeat hunting have destroyed critical gorillas habitat.
Of the four gorillas subspecies, the Western lowland gorilla is the most numerous. Cross River gorillas, found in Cameroon and Nigeria, have suffered from illegal hunting and habitat loss that has left only 250-300 of these gorillas in existence. At one point in the 1970's the mountain gorilla had a population of 23 but has seen increases over the past three decades that has raised its population to around 700. Finally, the Grauer's gorilla of the Democratic Republic of Congo is believed to have a population of about 16,000.
To read more about the discover of Western lowland gorillas, click HERE.