Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Gorilla population more than double estimates

I didn't blog on this story when it came out because I had trouble believing it wasn't a misprint, with a zero or two added somewhere. But, no, it's accurate, according to the WIldlife Conservation Society. The total western lowland gorilla population (one of four usually-recognized subspecies of the lowland gorilla (technically, its name is Gorilla gorilla gorilla)) had been estimated at under 100,000 and falling. A new census, though, puts the number in the northern Congo region alone at 125,000.

COMMENT: There is some uncertainly about the estimate (based on counting sleeping nests, since individual gorillas are hard to keep track of), but it's clear the animal is doing much better than conservationists feared. A previously unknown population of about 6,000 is part of the estimate. Cryptozoologists have been quick to point out the implications here. If an entire population, around 6,000 animals which may individually weigh upwards of 200kg, has been missed all these years, what else have we missed, in Africa and elsewhere?

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