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Mountain gorillas 'baby boom' in Uganda

dpa logodpa 17/11/2016 By Caroline Berdon

Uganda has prioritised the conservation of its mountain gorillas, who are now responding with a baby boom, says the country's tourism authority.

A Ugandan mountain gorilla has given birth to the third newborn in a south-western national park since August 21, sparking reports of a "baby boom" among the endangered species.

The possibility of viewing mountain gorillas has contributed hugely to the growth of the tourism industry in Uganda, which receives about 1.3 million visitors annually, according to the Tourism and Wildlife Ministry.

A female known as Businza gave birth on November 11 in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to a baby whose gender has not yet been established, a spokesman for the Uganda Wildlife Authority told DPA.

"It is highly protected by the silverback [male gorilla] and is only viewed from a distance," Jossy Muhangi said.

Another baby was born to the same gorilla family on August 21, while rangers found another newborn on September 10, according to the tourism board.

"Over the last 10 years, Uganda has been leading in the conservation of the mountain gorillas. The mountain gorillas are responding ... by giving birth," said Andrew Seguya, executive director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

The world's approximately 880 mountain gorillas live in eastern Africa, half of them in Bwindi, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. The species is classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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