[Guest post by DRJ]
Wildlife researchers found 125,000 low-land gorillas currently listed as endangered living deep in the forests of the Republic of Congo. This increases the estimated number of low-land gorillas to around 200,000.
Nevertheless, Emma Stokes, a member of the research team from The Wildlife Conservation Society based at New York’s Bronx Zoo, worries that these gorillas are still endangered:
“While calling the new census important, Stokes said it does not mean gorilla numbers in the wild are now safe.
“Far from being safe, the gorillas are still under threat from Ebola and hunting for bush meat. We must not become complacent about this. Ebola can wipe out thousands in a short period of time,” she said.”
Conservationists also warn that we cannot let this good news distract us from protecting other animals who are increasingly endangered by biofuel-related deforestation:
“There is a danger that we concentrate on the more famous species,” Oates said. “What about the other species that we’ve identified as in danger? There are so many that are on the brink of extinction.”
Among them is the highland gibbon, which counts just 19 known individuals. The review warned it will be tough battle to save that Asian primate from extinction.
Simon Stuart, with Conservation International, which provided data for the review, said primate populations are shrinking in Asia due to hunting and habitat destruction – some linked to the booming biofuel industry.
“In Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo the big problem is destruction of forests to make way for palm oil and biofuels. Ironically, with biofuels, something that is nominally associated with helping the environment can have harmful unintentional consequences,” Stuart said.”
It sounds like the biggest threat to some species comes from environmentalists.