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Gorilla Stronghold Found, Apes Still In Danger

gorilla dung deng deng national park cameroon
Ambahe Ruffin Dupplex gets his hands dirty during the gorilla count. He is collecting dung samples from a gorilla nest in Deng Deng National Park in Cameroon. (Image credit: Wildlife Conservation Society.)

Things are looking good for gorillas in Cameroon, according to a new count of the great apes.

The census, released today (March 28), reveals a dense and healthy population of western lowland gorillas living in Cameroon's Deng Deng National Park and an adjacent logging area, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). But the report warns that gorillas need to be protected in both areas if the population is to remain viable.

The census, which used dung samples from gorilla nests, estimated a total of between 300 and 500 gorillas in Deng Deng and the logging area, with about half living in the park. Gorillas move freely between the park and logging area; however, a road separates the two areas, leaving gorillas vulnerable to poachers, according to the report.

"Protecting this gorilla population, and guaranteeing its future, absolutely requires protecting the gorillas in the logging concession as well as in the park," said James Deutsch, Africa programs director for the WCS.

The density of gorillas found in Deng Deng is about the same as Gabon's Lopé National Park and Congo's Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, both well-known ape conservation sites in Central Africa.

Created in 2010, Deng Deng National Park supports the northernmost population of western lowland gorillas in Africa and is isolated from potential Ebola epidemics that have affected other great ape populations in Central Africa. Chimpanzees, forest elephants, buffaloes and bongo (a species of antelope) also live in the park, though poaching and illegal logging have hurt local wildlife numbers.

This article was provided by OurAmazingPlanet, a sister site to LiveScience.

Live Science Staff
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