Popular American comedian and TV host, Ellen DeGeneres shared her excitement at meeting the rare mountain gorillas with her fans on Twitter, having vacationed in Rwanda with her partner Portia de Rossi.
DeGeneres who said ‘spending time with the gorillas changed my life’ had earlier met Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame to discuss the establishment of a gorilla research centre, dubbed The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
‘‘I can’t begin to describe what this experience was like, or how much it means to me. I’m so grateful,’‘ DeGeneres tweeted.
These numbers are truly remarkable, far exceeding our expectations, and are the result of a collaborative, three-country effort with governments and partners all playing an important role.
I can’t begin to describe what this experience was like, or how much it means to me. I’m so grateful. pic.twitter.com/nuoRaPsVnu— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) 30 mai 2018
Gorilla population recovers to over 1,000
Mountain gorillas are one of the world’s most endangered species, which survives on the forest-cloaked volcanoes of central Africa, even though wildlife authorities announced this week that their numbers have increased by a quarter to over 1,000 individuals since 2010.
The latest census put them at 1,004 individuals: 604 in Virunga, and 400 in Uganda’s nearby Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Joel Wenga Malembe, spokesman for the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature, told Reuters.
That is despite the threat posed by poachers and armed groups in the Virunga Massif, a spine of volcanic mountains in the western Rift Valley straddling eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda, where most of them reside.
The last survey, in 2010, found just 786 of this critically endangered eastern gorilla sub-species, of which 480 were in Virunga.
“These numbers are truly remarkable, far exceeding our expectations, and are the result of a collaborative, three-country effort with governments and partners all playing an important role,” Mike Cranfield, of charity Gorilla Doctors, said in a statement.
Partly because they are so rare, the mountain gorillas are a major source of tourist revenue for the three nations, and their habitat supports other rare species found nowhere else such as golden monkeys.