The famous Virunga National Park in DR Congo announced on Friday the birth of a mountain gorilla in this tourist region threatened by armed groups.
The birth of a new male baby took place on the morning of August 22, the park’s communications manager, Olivier Mukisya, told AFP.
The discovery was made by “a team of eco-guards” during a routine surveillance visit to the gorillas’ homes in the Kibumba region of North Kivu in the east of the country, Mukisya said.
The national park said the new baby was from the Baraka gorilla family which was “currently made up of around 18 individuals.”
The Baraka family records their first birth of the year and the latter brings the number to 13 since January 2021 “, of all the gorilla families in the region, Mukisya said.
Located on the DR Congo’s borders with Rwanda and Uganda, the Virunga cover approximately 7,800 square kilometers of the province of North Kivu, of which Goma is the capital.
Inaugurated in 1925, it is the oldest nature reserve in Africa and a sanctuary for the rare mountain gorillas, also present in neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.
The total mountain gorilla population in the region covering the three countries is estimated at 1,063, according to the latest full count of 2018.
The Virunga gorilla retreat has also become a haunt for local and foreign armed groups that have been operating in eastern DR Congo for around 25 years.
The eco-guards regularly clash with rebels and militias in the region.