Massive Study Shows More Gorillas and Chimps Than Expected

April 24, 2018

A massive, WCS-led study is out today with big news on Western Equatorial Africa’s gorillas and chimpanzees.

The good news: There are one-third more western lowland gorillas and one-tenth more central chimpanzees than previously thought.

The bad news: The vast majority of these great apes (80 percent) exist outside of protected areas, and gorilla populations are declining by 2.7 percent annually.

This decade-long paper was published today in the journal Science Advances.

The authors of the study report an estimated abundance of over 360,000 gorillas and nearly 130,000 chimpanzees across the combined ranges of both subspecies, both of which were higher than previously believed. These revised numbers come largely from refinements to the survey methodology, new data from areas not previously included in range-wide estimates, as well as predictions of numbers in the areas between survey sites.

“These findings can help inform national and regional management strategies that safeguard the remaining habitat, increase anti-poaching efforts, and curtail the effects of development on great apes and other wildlife,” said WCS's Samantha Strindberg, the lead author of the paper.

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Photo Credit: ©Emma Stokes/WCS
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Photo Credit: ©Forrest Hogg/WCS

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