New birth of a mountain gorilla in DRCongo's Virunga park

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DR Congo's famed Virunga National Park announced Friday the birth of a mountain gorilla in this tourist region threatened by armed groups.

The birth of a new baby male occurred on the morning of August 22," the park's communication officer Olivier Mukisya told AFP.

The discovery was made by "a team of eco-guards" during a routine monitoring visit to the home of the gorillas in the Kibumba area of North Kivu in the east of the country, Mukisya explained.

The national park said that the new baby belonged to the Baraka family of gorillas which was 'currently composed of about 18 individuals".

The Baraka family records its first birth of the year and this last one brings the number to 13 since January 2021," from all the gorilla families in the region, said Mukisya.

Situated on DR Congo's borders with Rwanda and Uganda, Virunga covers around 7,800 square kilometres of the North Kivu province, of which Goma is the capital.

Inaugurated in 1925 it is the oldest nature reserve in Africa and a sanctuary for the rare mountain gorillas, which are also present in neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda.

The total population of mountain gorillas in the region covering the three countries is estimated at 1,063, according to the last full count in 2018.

The gorillas Virunga retreat has also become a hideout for local and foreign armed groups that have operated in eastern DR Congo for around 25 years.

The eco-guards regularly clash with rebels and militias in the area.

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