Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has urged that mountain gorilla conservation efforts are enhanced not weakened in response to today’s announcement by The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species that the status of mountain gorillas has been changed from critically endangered to endangered.
Matt Walpole, Senior Director, Conservation Programmes, at FFI said: “The increase in mountain gorilla numbers is the result of day in, day out hard work by dedicated conservationists. Mountain gorillas remain threatened with extinction despite significant conservation efforts over recent decades and we have to make sure we build on these achievements and not allow this success to become an excuse for weakening protections.
“Many threats to mountain gorillas remain including illegal trapping, irresponsible development, disease and climate change. Tourism can – and has – played an important part in enhancing mountain gorilla protection, but it needs the right support and safeguards to continue to do this. Ensuring the benefits of tourism are properly directed to mountain gorillas and local communities will remain essential to avoid undoing years of achievement.”
IUCN’s announcement follows on from the news in May 2018 that mountain gorilla numbers in the Virunga Massif had increased to 604 from an estimated 480 in 2010, bringing the global wild population of mountain gorillas to an estimated 1,004 animals when combined with published figures from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
The new figures were the result of a comprehensive census, coordinated by the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration and supported by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP – a coalition programme of Fauna & Flora International and WWF) along with other partners.
Fauna & Flora International is grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their ongoing support to protect mountain gorillas and other threatened species and habitats around the world.