Conservationists on Thursday used the rare birth of a mountain gorilla in Congo to warn that the animals face the threat of extinction without stronger protection measures.
The gorilla was born Tuesday in eastern Congo's Virunga National Park, said Samantha Newport of the conservation support group, WildlifeDirect.
Nine mountain gorillas have been killed in the park since January, five of them in July. Newport said those deaths amounted to the worst bloodshed to hit the park's 100-strong gorilla population in decades.
"The mountain gorillas must be protected or Congo will end up with absolutely none," Newport said.
In a statement, WildlifeDirect warned the threat of extinction remained with nearly 10 percent of the animals' population in the region wiped out this year alone.
Only about 700 mountain gorillas are believed to remain in the world. About 380 live in the Virunga Volcanoes Conservation Area, which straddles the borders of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. The other 320 live in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
The group called the birth "a key step toward the survival of this critically endangered species."
Virunga National Park is located in a lawless swathe of eastern Congo that the country's government has struggled to bring under control for years. Established in 1925 as Africa's first national park, it was classified as a U.N. World Heritage Site in 1979.
Last Mod: 24 Ağustos 2007, 10:30