Twin mountain gorillas born in Rwanda

Posted on 10 June 2011
Mother gorilla Ruvumu with her twins, a boy and a girl
© Abel Musana/Rwanda Development Board
A pair of twin mountain gorillas have been born in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park, it was reported by International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), a coalition of WWF, African Wildlife Foundation and Fauna & Flora International.

Last month's birth marks only the seventh recorded case of twin mountain gorillas among Rwanda’s habituated population since observations began 40 years ago. A previous set of rare twins was born in the park in February.

Upon hearing the news during a field assignment, a coalition of conservationists from Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda erupted into a spontaneous signing of "Happy Birthday".

There are only about 780 mountain gorillas remaining in the wild. A recent scientific report by IGCP and others has found that "extreme conservation measures" for habituated gorillas, such as veterinary care and daytime guarding against poachers, have led to population increases. In contrast, unhabituated gorillas, which only receive conventional conservation efforts, have declined in numbers.

"Thus by increasing protection and facilitating veterinary treatment, the daily monitoring of each habituated group contributed to most of the difference in growth rates. Our results argue for wider consideration of extreme measures and offer a startling view of the enormous resources that may be needed to conserve some endangered species," the report says.