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Science Briefing

Discovery boosts gorilla tally

August 09, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Wildlife researchers said Tuesday that they've discovered 125,000 western lowland gorillas deep in the forests of the Republic of Congo, calling it a major increase in the animal's estimated population.

The Wildlife Conservation Society, based at New York's Bronx Zoo, and the small west-central African nation said their census counted the newly discovered gorillas in two areas of the northern part of the country covering 18,000 square miles.

Previous estimates, dating to the 1980s, put the number of western lowland gorillas at fewer than 100,000. But the animal's numbers were believed to have fallen by at least 50% since then because of hunting and disease, researchers said.

The newly discovered gorilla population now puts their estimated numbers at 175,000 to 225,000.

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