Amid Congo's Violence, a Gorilla 'Baby Boom'
Population of tame gorillas up 12.5%
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2009 2:21 PM CST
A baby mountain gorilla is seen, in the Virunga National Park, near the Uganda border in eastern Congo, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008.   (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
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(Newser) – The Democratic Republic of Congo has seen unspeakable violence, but one population has managed to thrive: the endangered mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park. The population of gorillas considered tame grew to 81 from 72 over the past year, Bloomberg reports. The gorilla population has boomed even as rangers entrusted with protecting them have been forced to flee the deadly conflict between rebel forces and the Congolese army.

“When there’s very intense fighting, there is the possibility of gorillas being killed,” the Park Director said. “Instead, there’s been an unusually high number of births; it’s a postwar baby boom.” Surveyors use the number of gorillas who are “tame,” or habituated to the presence of humans, as an indicator for the larger population. Besides 81 tame gorillas, officials estimate there are 120 unhabituated gorillas in Virunga.