Imperiled African Gorilla Population Surges 26%
Efforts to decrease poaching and disease have helped
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2010 11:03 AM CST
In this photo taken on Thursday, June 23, 2005, Kampanga, a female adult mountain gorilla, with his baby 6 months old in the Volcanos National Park in Rwanda.   (AP Photo/Riccardo Gangale)
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(Newser) – Finally, some good news for an endangered species: The mountain gorilla population in central Africa has swelled since 2003. The Virunga Massif, made up of three national parks, had only 380 gorillas seven years ago and is now up to 480. "This is a spectacular upsurge," says a primatologist. Experts say efforts to save the species aren't done, but this "shows that with enough effort it is possible to bring a population back from precariously small numbers," she says.

The 26.3% increase, a growth rate of 3.7% per year, is thanks in part to an effort at decreasing poaching. The International Gorilla Conservation Programme engages local communities in other projects that can make money, like beekeeping, in order to discourage poaching. Veterinarians have also closely monitored the gorillas to diminish the number of deaths from disease and injury, the Guardian reports; patrols and guards have also been increased.