Gorilla population may be twice what was thought

Some rare good news: There may be roughly twice as many western lowland gorillas as once thought. A census by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Republic of Congo reported discovering 125,000 of them that were formerly uncounted, bringing their estimated numbers up to between 175,000 and 225,000.

The number is still unconfirmed, as it came from counting “nests” made by gorillas, since the gorillas are too shy to be counted individually, and nest counts may vary.

Researchers point out that even if the numbers are confirmed, the gorillas still face risks from Ebola and hunters.

Many of the gorilla’s fellow primates were found to be in danger of extinction, according to a separate report released by primatologists in Scotland. It said nearly half of the world’s primates are in danger of becoming extinct due to human-related causes, such as habitat loss (mostly burning and clearing tropical forests), hunting for bushmeat and traditional medicine, illegal wildlife trade and global warming. The new primate information will be updated in October onto the “Red List” maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for threatened species.

“If you have forests, you can save primates,” said Anthony Rylands, deputy chair of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group, in a statement.