Huge Gorilla Population Found in Congo

125,000 endangered primates located in northern Congo Republic
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2008 4:55 AM CDT
A western lowland gorilla silverback is seen among members of a group in the Republic of Congo. More than 125,000 western lowland gorillas have been tallied in the northern part of the country.   (AP Photo/Wildlife Conservation Society, Thomas Breuer)
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(Newser) – As recently as last year, the western lowland gorilla was listed as one of the world's most critically endangered primate species, nearly wiped out by the Ebola virus. But an arduous survey has revealed that 125,000 gorillas are living in the northern Congo Republic, deep in a swampy region rarely visited by humans. "This is the light of hope you look for," one conservationist told the New York Times.

The study was undertaken by the Wildlife Conservation Society and local Congolese researchers. They were the first primatologists ever to enter the 18,000-square-mile "green abyss" of the country's north. Globally, primates remain severely endangered, threatened by deforestation and hunting, but scientists are enjoying the good news. "It's just great to discover that these animals are doing well," said one.