African Gorillas' Habitat Quickly Disappearing

Continent-wide survey finds huge losses since 1990s
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2012 1:16 PM CDT
In this file photo, a mountain gorilla is seen in the Volcanos National Park in Rwanda.   (AP Photo/Riccardo Gangale)

(Newser) – The first-ever continent-wide survey of gorillas in Africa finds that their habitats have been shrinking at a disturbingly fast clip since the 1990s, reports the BBC. Eastern gorillas, for example, have the distinction of being the largest living primate, but they've lost 52% of their habitat over that span. Double-digit dips also hold true for Cross River gorillas (59%), western gorillas (31%), bonobos (29%), and chimpanzees in both central Africa (17%) and western Africa (11%)

"The situation is very dramatic—many of the ape populations we still find today will disappear in the near future," says one of the researchers. "In an increasingly crowding world with demand for space, wood, mineral resources, and meat, apes will continue to disappear." Widespread foresting and hunting are blamed in the study, published in the conservation journal Diversity and Distributions.

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