Mountain gorillas

After the recent census of mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the population of mountain gorillas stands at 880: 480 in the Virunga Massif (based on 2010 census) + 400 in Bwindi (based on 2011 census)

A century of persecution

In 1902, the German explorer Oscar von Beringe became the first non-African to encounter the mountain gorilla. In the ensuing century, a combination of hunting and habitat destruction has driven this very rare primate to the verge of extinction.

To the rescue – the first gorilla champions

But for the intervention and dedication of a handful of people, the mountain gorilla would surely already be extinct. The work of conservationists such as Carl Akeley, George Schaller and Dian Fossey focused global attention on the plight of gorillas

Local heroes

It is the people of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda, for the most part unsung heroes, who deserve the credit for ensuring the survival of the mountain gorilla, and who offer the greatest hope for its continued survival over the coming centuries. The continued protection, monitoring and management of the mountain gorilla and its habitat have demanded huge commitment and cost many lives. The dedication of park staff in the three countries is the chief reason why mountain gorillas are thriving today

Limited range

Mountain gorillas are effectively divided into two distinct populations. The first is confined to an area of around 330 square kms in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The second is found in the Virunga Volcano Region (VVR), which lies across the international borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Although it comprises one single ecosystem covering approximately 450 square kms, the VVR is separated into three national parks: Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcano National Park in Rwanda and the Southern Sector of the Virunga National Park in DRC

View all Gorilla families in the library »

mountain gorillas

Find out more about Gorillas

  • If you value the natural world, if you believe it should be conserved for its own sake as well as for humanity’s, then please lend your support.

  • — Sir David Attenborough
Latest news & posts
  • IGCP Job Advert – Conservation Scientist

    IGCP Job Advert – Conservation Scientist

    The International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) is recruiting a new staff position! Download the Conservation Scientist job advert for more details. Applications should be received by 5 PM Central Africa Time on...

    Read more
    Gorilla & community protectors in DRC receive training, equipment

    Gorilla & community protectors in DRC receive training, equipment

    Don't be alarmed. The photo above is not an emergency scene, it is a training scene. From October 3rd to 5th, 40 HuGo team members from different corners around the Mikeno sector participated in a training held in...

    Read more
    Daily info gathering by rangers feeds park planning

    Daily info gathering by rangers feeds park planning

    Data crunching. It's not very glamorous, but it is vitally important to the conservation of the critically-endangered mountain gorillas. Up-to-date, relevant and timely information is an essential prerequisite which...

    Read more
    Nose prints and mountain gorilla know-how

    Nose prints and mountain gorilla know-how

    All gorillas are just as physically and genetically different as you are from your neighbor. To know these differences helps to monitor mountain gorilla population demographic changes and health status of habituated...

    Read more
  • Back to the business of mountain gorilla monitoring

    Back to the business of mountain gorilla monitoring

    Monitoring the location and health of habituated mountain gorillas is something, under ideal circumstances, that happens every day. Unfortunately, the conditions in different parts of the Virunga Massif have been far...

    Read more
    A long and weary week

    A long and weary week

    It has been almost nine months of renewed insecurity in North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which includes the area where IGCP works alongside Virunga National Park for the conservation of the...

    Read more
    Concern remains for the mountain gorillas and people of Virunga National Park, DRC

    Concern remains for the mountain gorillas and people of Virunga National Park, DRC

    The status of Virunga National Park's mountain gorillas remains unknown as rebels continue to occupy the park's gorilla sector. It has been since May that M23 rebels - also referred to as the Congolese Revolutionary...

    Read more
    Population of mountain gorillas in Bwindi determined by census

    Population of mountain gorillas in Bwindi determined by census

    A census of mountain gorillas, Gorilla beringei beringei, conducted in 2011 in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda, confirms a minimum population of 400 gorillas, raising the total world population of mountain...

    Read more