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Gorilla population making a comeback, say conservationists

Threats remain, but mountain gorillas are benefitting from conservation efforts.

A new survey says the number of mountain gorillas, an endangered species, is on the rise. 

New survey results from Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are painting a promising picture. The population of endangered mountain gorillas has grown to 459 as conservation efforts begin producing results, according to an announcement Monday. It brings the global number of confirmed mountain gorillas to 1,063, according to the latest research. 

The survey was conducted by more than 75 trained members, and covered the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and the contiguous Sarambwe Nature Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was funded by conservation groups including the World Wildlife Foundation and Fauna & Flora International. 

Despite the good news, mountain gorillas remain at threat of extinction, Matt Walpole, Fauna & Flora senior director, said in a release.

"We have to remain vigilant against threats and build on the success achieved to date by ensuring resources -- including from tourism -- are properly directed to mountain gorillas and local communities," he added.

Conservationists said the results confirm that the endangered species' prospects are improving, and that conservationists strategies are working but threats remain. Community members in the survey area destroyed 88 illegal gorilla snares during the 2018 survey, which is roughly the same number they destroyed in 2011, indicating illegal activity has not decreased.