Great ape populations
In the rainforests of the Republic of Congo, a western lowland gorilla gazes into the canopy of branches above. Following a 10-year-long study in Western Equatorial Africa of western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and central chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes), researchers now know there are more of these animals in the wild than previously understood.
[Read more about how humans can save great apes]
Just keep movin'
The decade-long study revealed that the total population of central chimpanzees, such as the one seen here swinging in the trees, is a tenth higher than previously believed, at around 130,000 individuals.
From under cover of leaves and branches, Buka, a silverback gorilla in Nouabale-Ndoki National Park, watches the forest. The study also revealed that 360,000 western lowland gorillas call the Republic of Congo home. This is almost a third more individuals than prior numbers indicated. But with the good, comes the bad: These populations are known to be declining at 2.7 percent annually.
Inside the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo, a western lowland gorilla rests in the cover of the rainforest.
Taking in the view
Two central chimpanzees sit in a tree contemplating their home.
This western lowland gorilla seems to be sizing up the photographer.
In the Mbeli Bai forest clearing, a western lowland gorilla pauses in the sun.
A western lowland gorilla infant takes in its surroundings from the safety of its mother's arms.
Lazily reclining, a young central chimpanzee gazes quietly into the distance.
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