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880+1 mountain gorillas: Baby brings new hope for Earth’s last great apes

Tony Ofungi, eTN Uganda Correspondent  Sep 10, 2016

The birth of a new baby mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park on August 21, 2016 brought a lot of joy in the conservation community.

The baby gorilla was sighted in the Bushaho area on August 22,2016, a day after it was born to Bunyindo, one of the four adult females in the Bushaho gorilla group.

A statement from Jossy Muhangi, Uganda Widlife Authority (UWA) publicist, revealed that the baby gorilla was born among the Bushaho group in Nkuringo.

“At UWA, we are very happy that an individual has been born to increase the mountain gorilla population in our area,” added Mr. John Justice Tibesigwa, the acting Area Conservation Manager, Bwindi.

Mr. Tibesigwa explained that the Bushaho group is currently comprised of eight members, led by the alpha male called Bahati. According to the reconnaissance team that managed to capture hazy photos of the intimate moment, both mother and the baby, yet to be named, are in good health.

“With only about 880 mountain gorillas left in the world, the value of one more healthy baby cannot be underscored [enough],” signed off Muhangi.

The group is located in Nkuringo, in the Southern sector of Bwindi, and is one of the two groups in the park which have been under habituation since 2013. Habituation of the group is expected to end in 2017. The second group that is under habituation is Bikyingi, where visitors can be introduced to experiential tourism under the popular Gorilla Habituation Experience (GHE). This in itself is a new product where tourists get to move with researchers as they go through the delicate process of getting the gorillas accustomed to the presence of humans.

Located in Southwestern Uganda, Bwindi is best known for its superb gorilla tracking, but it also provides refuge to forest elephants, chimpanzees, monkeys, and various small antelopes, as well as 23 bird species restricted to the Albertine Rift.

Mount Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the only other park in the country where gorillas are tracked. This park is shared between (Parc National des Virunga) in DRC and (Parc National des Volcans) in Rwanda.

880+1 mountain gorillas: Baby brings new hope for Earth’s last great apes

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