Park officials in Rwanda have reported a rare birth of mountain gorilla twins – no small triumph for the endangered species numbering a mere 780.
The successful twin birth is only the second since 2004, and just five previous cases of twins have occurred since record-keeping began 40 years ago, gorilla trackers from the Volcanoes National Park say.
“It’s uncommon among the population of gorillas, and very few cases of twins have been documented in the wild or captivity. The twins in Hirwa Group provide another opportunity for comparative research on this rare case of twining in primates, therefore continuing to get more knowledge and reference for gorilla research, and conservation in general,” said Prosper Uwingeli, the Chief Park Warden, as quoted by AllAfrica.com.
Mountain gorillas are Rwanda’s primary tourist attraction, but their population is alarmingly weak. Researchers say the current total of 780 gorillas is a quarter higher than it was seven years ago.
Wildlife officials said the baby gorillas are in good health.
“The twins, both of them males, were born Thursday of a mother gorilla called Kabatwa. They are doing well,” Radio Rwanda reported, according to AFP.
The majority of mountain gorillas are found in the Virunga massif, which covers Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A 2010 census found a 26 percent increase in gorillas in Virunga chain habitat.