Uganda is home to around half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas; thanks to conservation efforts the global population is now slightly above 1,000 and the species has recently been re-graded by the IUCN as “endangered’ rather than “critically endangered.” Many indigenous groups in Uganda have traditional beliefs that encourage ape conservation. However, rapid population growth in the 20th century increasingly brought humans and gorillas into conflict. Today, conservation groups are working to harness traditional knowledge to protect apes, and to develop new techniques that allow humans and gorillas to peacefully coexist. BWINDI IMPENETRABLE NATIONAL PARK, Uganda — On a misty morning, a small group of critically endangered mountain gorillas led by a silverback known as Makara walks majestically into our view. Makara strides on his hind legs and carries a handful of foliage. He looks confident, and the saddle-shaped patch of silver hair on his back stands out. He quickly puts down the foliage and gestures as if to tell his troop to move ahead. Makara leads the Habinyanja gorilla family, one of 36 in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park; his is one of 18 that are fully habituated to the presence of humans. The park measures just […]

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