"If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin."
- Charles Darwin

Aug 20, 2007

Two More Gorillas Found Dead

Good news of baby Ndeze's success marred by tragedy

Earlier this week I linked to a story showing that the baby of one of the four murdered gorillas (one of whom was also pregnant) is currently in stable condition. Yesterday conservationists in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo discovered the remains of two more adult gorillas with one of their infants almost assuredly lost as well. This brings the death toll to nine this year. As I highlighted before, with only 700 mountain gorillas alive in the wild the loss of these individuals now represents the equivalent of 85 million people, or the entire population of Germany.

According to Reuters:

"Effectively, this means that not only are there six that are now dead, but there will now be a group of 12 gorillas that may not carry on into the next generation, said Gerard Collin, a consultant with the UNESCO team.

So far this year, nine mountain gorillas have been killed in North Kivu.

Two adult males, known as silverbacks because of their grey colouring, were killed and eaten by rebels living off the land.

A third, a female, was shot in the back of the head in what conservationists said was an "execution-style" killing. Rangers found her baby clinging to her body, suggesting she was not killed for bush meat or the lucrative trade in primate infants.

Some conservationists say they suspect the killings are linked to a power struggle between local government agents trying to save Virunga, Africa's oldest national park, and those engaged in the illicit trade in charcoal made from its trees.

For those of you able to help, donations can be sent to the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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