Uganda Reports 2 New Gorilla Babies in Bwindi National Park

Two new baby gorillas have been discovered in a Ugandan national park where a beloved primate named Rafiki was killed in June, a wildlife official announced Tuesday, saying the infants are part of a baby boom in the protected forest popular with tourists.

“For us it's a sign of relief. We lost one. We got two. But, of course, losing one is bad enough,” said Bashir Hangi, a spokesman for Uganda Wildlife Authority, talking about the loss of Rafiki.

The babies are believed to have been born in the same week last month to two separate groups of habituated gorillas — primates that seem comfortable in the presence of humans — in the remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, according to wildlife authorities.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature classifies the mountain gorilla as an endangered species. Until November 2018, the same group classified mountain gorillas as critically endangered. The population of mountain gorillas has increased to allow for the less severe classification.

East Africa's mountain gorilla population dropped sharply in the past century because of poaching, illness and human encroachment. In the past few years some of Uganda’s gorillas died of natural causes, with some falling from trees and others killed when males battled for territory or dominance. A major threat to the gorillas has been poaching.

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Source: The New York Times