880+1 mountain gorillas as baby brings new hope for earth’s last great apes

The birth of a new baby mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) on 21/08/2016 has brought a lot of joy in the conversation community. The national park is a World Heritage site.

The baby gorilla was sighted in Bushaho area on 22/08/2016, a day after it was born to Bunyindo, one of the four adult females in Bushaho gorilla group. Though the first photos of the baby are hazy, nothing takes away the excitement.

The group is located in Nkuringo in the Southern sector of BINP and is one of the two groups in the park which have been under habituation since 2013. Habituation the group is expected to end in 2017. The second group that is under habituation is Bikyingi to which the visitors for the popular Gorilla Habituation Experience (GHE) are taken.

With only about 880 mountain gorillas left in the world, the value of one healthier baby cannot be underscored. 

"We are very happy that an individual has been born to increase the mountain gorilla population in our area," says John Justice Tibesigwa, acting area conservation manager, for the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has said. He adds that the new baby belongs to the Bushaho family of eight members led by the male silverback Bahati. The mother of the baby is Bunyindo.

Mountain gorillas live in forests high in the mountains, at elevations of 8,000 to 13,000 feet. They have thicker fur, and more of it, compared to other great apes. The fur helps them to survive in a habitat where temperatures often close to freezing.

A few years ago, the survival of the mountain gorillas was very bleak. However, joint interstate and national conservation efforts have seen the population grow. Bwindi has over 50% and Uganda 54% of the mountain gorillas left in the world. The new born gorilla makes it one more.