There are more gorillas in the mist – a rare conservation success story, scientists say. After facing near-extinction, mountain gorillas are slowly rebounding. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) updated mountain gorillas’ status from ‘Critically endangered’ to ‘Endangered’, a more promising, if still precarious, designation. There are now just over 1,000 of the animals in the wild, up from an estimated population of 680 a decade ago.
Mountain gorillas live in lush and misty forests along a range of dormant volcanoes in east Africa. Their habitat falls inside national parks spanning parts of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Several factors have enabled mountain gorillas’ modest rebound. The three governments have stepped up enforcement of national park boundaries — areas where hunting, logging and paved roads are illegal. Tourism helps too: Visitors pay up to $1,500 an hour to watch gorillas, money that helps pay for park rangers.