Africa Chimp, Gorilla Populations Improve But Are Still Endangered

Between 2003 and 2013, field surveyors stomped 5,400 miles through the jungles of western Equatorial Africa, an area west of the Congo River roughly the size of Washington State. What they found, while covering a distance equivalent to walking from New York City to London, is some rare good news: The population of western lowland gorillas is about 360,000, or one-third higher than previous estimates. Central chimpanzees number about 130,000, one-tenth higher than expected.

But the data in the journal Science Advances also shows reason for concern—gorillas in the survey areas declined by 2.7 percent annually, meaning their populations aren’t secure. “It’s great news that the forests of western Equatorial Africa still contain hundreds of thousands of gorillas and chimpanzees, but…

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