Wednesday, January 16

Success for Great Apes and Whales

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Mountain gorillas whose numbers sank to just 680 in the wild are still endangered but not critically endangered due to intensive conservation efforts.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), anti-poaching patrols and the removal of snares have helped its population to rebound to 1000 individuals in the wild.

The mountain gorilla lives in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and three national parks in the Virunga mountains of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda.

However, all great apes are endangered or critically endangered. Down to fewer than 500,000, their numbers have been reduced through deforestation-which destroys their habitat-and through hunting, including for meat. Even infectious disease is a major factor-as many as one-quarter of the world’s gorilla population has died because of Ebola.

The Fin Whale has also come back from the brink since the 1970s, previously endangered due to whaling, and over exploitation of its oil and meat. Commercial whaling bans in the north Pacific and the Southern Hemisphere have moved its status to vulnerable.

Elsewhere, the Red List update highlights that, despite notable conservation successes, many species are still in danger. In Lake Malawi, nearly 9% of the 458 fish species assessed are at a high risk of extinction.

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