August 5th, 2008
10:19 AM ET

Gorilla discovery boosts survival hopes

Editor's Note: Read about the Anderson's encounter with gorrillas in to the Congo as part of Planet in Peril: Battle Lines coming this fall.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/africa/08/05/congo.gorillas/art.lowland.gorillas.ap.jpg]Hopes for the survival of a critically endangered primate have been boosted after the discovery of 125,000 Western lowland gorillas living in a swamp in northern Congo.

"It's pretty astonishing," Hugo Rainey, one of the researchers who conducted the survey for the U.S.-based Wildlife Conservation Society, told CNN Tuesday.

The last census on the species, carried out during the 1980s, estimated that there were only 100,000 of the gorillas left worldwide. Since then, the researchers estimated, the numbers had been cut in half.

WCS survey teams conducted the research in 2006 and 2007, traveling to the remote Lac Tele Community Reserve in northern Congo, a vast area of swamp forest.

Acting on a tip from hunters who indicated the presence of gorillas, Rainey said that the researchers trekked on foot through mud for three days to the outskirts of Lac Tele, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the nearest road.


Filed under: Planet in Peril
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. erin

    I wish that you hadn't published this. This discovery gives human hope, but puts the gorillas in a more vunerable position. by exposing thier location to the public... if we are truly trying to protect them.

    December 3, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  2. Don, WA

    What an oasis – the photo on the "read more" link is like looking back in time – or looking into the future. So much selfish greed endangering them and so much necessary action to protect them I know...I want and wish I could just say – just leave them alone.

    August 15, 2008 at 12:06 am |
  3. Ratna Sadal

    Gorillas are better then American politics!

    August 13, 2008 at 12:50 pm |
  4. Anna, Hong Kong

    indeed great news on the discovery of the Gorillas. What happens now? How will their survival be ensured? Will the animals be left to live on in their remote natural habitat? How are they to be protected? Frequent visits from rangers? Tagged?

    August 10, 2008 at 9:08 am |
  5. Jolene

    My guess is the Gorillas got smart and learned how to survive despite their consequences. Good for them and thanks for the upbeat story!

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    August 5, 2008 at 6:56 pm |
  6. Sandra, Wadley Ga

    Good afternoon Anderson. The glory of the Western lowland gorilla shines on. I appreciate the story and photos and hope these gentle giants continue to find peace without the intrusion of man.

    Remember Dian Fossey's words: "When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate more on the preservation of the future."

    August 5, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  7. Jo Ann, Ohio

    What a fantastic find! I was just reading about this on NPR.

    Although this is wonderful news to those of us who love these majestic creatures, I fear for their safety now that their existence has been exposed. Up until now the remoteness of their location and its swampy environment has helped them to survive. Unfortunately, now that the word is out I am sure some will rush to exploit them. Hopefully organizations like DFGFI and Wildlife Direct can keep them safe.

    I hope 360 will continue to follow this exciting new discovery!

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    August 5, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  8. Maritza

    I was sooo happy to see these amazing creatures in the Congo, a true miracle and wonderful surprise, after the horrific killings of an an entire family as reported by National Geographic, and Anderson , I woke up this morning turned on the news and this beautiful image of the gorillas frolicking around, there was one little guy who looked like he was having a great time, these reports help bring awareness of how delicate there survival is, and most important it brings hope.


    August 5, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  9. Mike in NYC

    125,000! A mother lode! This is great news.

    More animals, less people, that's what I say.

    August 5, 2008 at 1:17 pm |
  10. Megan Dresslar

    Hello Anderson,
    I found that I saw many gorillas in the jungle..... That was so amazing..... I knew that many gorillas have to protect themselves from problem....... That is so hard to find place to live and safe them.... Also,
    I agree with bloggers.... I hope Government can help gorrilas to save them....... thanks for information from CNN on tv and website.....
    Megan D.
    Shoreline, Wa

    August 5, 2008 at 1:11 pm |
  11. Michelle Fonthill Ont,Canada

    These gorillas are truly a magnificant animal that must be protected from poachers and keep them safe in thiier natural habitat.Thanks for showing this remarkable documentry it's the best possible way to raise awreness of the plight of animals and lobal warming.

    August 5, 2008 at 1:05 pm |
  12. Lisa

    Fabulous....now that EVERYONE...including the poachers, know where they are!
    More blood money for all of the monsters of the world! Renewed hope?
    No, just more fuel for the malicious and greedy.
    Aw......Bitter Sweet isn't it.

    August 5, 2008 at 12:45 pm |
  13. Lilibeth

    News like this gives me hope that it is not too late to reverse the trend of the disappearing mountain gorillas, thanks to donors of wildlife groups and conservationists who work tirelessly to make this happen. There’s a long way to go yet, but at least it’s headed in the right direction.

    Edmonds, Washington

    August 5, 2008 at 12:41 pm |
  14. Lauren R., USA

    For the survival of the species, this information should never have been made public. Thanks to the web, hunters now know exactly where to look. We'll see how many are left of these Congo apes in ten years. Very very worrisome.

    August 5, 2008 at 12:19 pm |
  15. Ann. Canada

    This is amazing news. Absolutely terrific news!

    What happens now though? With continued war, habitat loss, poaching and disease, which are the major threats to these mountain gorillas, how do we ensure their continued protection and safety, which ultimately ensures their population is sustained?

    August 5, 2008 at 12:01 pm |
  16. Cindy

    Wow...it is amazing that they found that many gorillas that they didn't even know existed! I just hope that they can keep the poachers and all away from them to keep them alive.

    I think them being found may turn out to be a double edged sword! By finding them they can ensure their survival but also they have now alerted the poachers where the gorillas are and that they aren't protected at all. So it's kind of good but bad at the same time. I just hope that they can get the government to protect the area where they were found!

    If they found that many gorillas that they had no idea existed then I just wonder if there are more elsewhere that they don't know about?


    August 5, 2008 at 10:52 am |
  17. Annie Kate

    Its wonderful that these gorillas were found. They are such magnificent primates. This is a piece of good news among some of the depressing news that came out this week with the assessment for an IUCN "Red List" of endangered species 48 percent of the 634 known species and sub-species of primates including chimpanzees, orangutans, gibbons and lemurs, were at risk of extinction. These are some of humans closest relatives.

    I hope that this find does not detract from the urgency of conservation as even though more gorillas have been found their ecosystem still continues to be encroached on and the peril they face as their habitat grows ever smaller may sentence these newly found gorillas to the extinction we feared will happen to their mountain cousins.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 5, 2008 at 10:52 am |
  18. Martina Ilstad

    Hey Anderson
    i hope that this gorillas in congo will survive.poeple must learn to pretect any animals.its our duty.we need this animals,because they are a part of our wold.we have do pretect them for us and our kids.

    August 5, 2008 at 10:47 am |
  19. deborah, OH

    I was just reading this on the web, & was very excited about it!
    I know it doesn't mean all is ok now, but it's something, if the findings prove to be accurate. Wow!

    August 5, 2008 at 10:47 am |

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