GOOD

Are Poop-Sniffing Dogs The Key To Saving These Rare Gorillas?

When it comes to finding fresh gorilla feces, no one does it better than Fido.

image via (cc) flickr user rod_waddington

It’s estimated there are somewhere between 200-300 Cross River Gorillas left in the world, making them one of the planet’s most endangered primates. The Western Gorilla subspecies, so named for their habitat at the source of Nigeria’s Cross River, are elusive to the point where simply finding—to say nothing of actually studying—them has become an exceptional challenge. To better understand, and ultimately conserve, these great apes, a team of researchers have turned recruited detection dogs to sniff out the best source of biological info on their evasive subjects: Gorilla shit.

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Ebola’s Other Victims: One-Third of the World’s Gorillas and Chimpanzees

Some estimate that since the 1990s, Ebola has become the number one threat to great apes in Africa.

image via (cc) flickr user mape_s

While the headlines, and accompanying panic, may have subsided for many of us, the Ebola outbreak of 2014 remains one of the most horrific viral epidemics in recent memory. A January 2015 report by the World Health Organization places the number of fatalities at 8,641, with nearly three times that reportedly infected across West Africa. The degree to which life in and around the affected areas has been seismically disrupted is hard to most of us to fathom. It is an outbreak—the most recent of many—that in both scale and severity feels more akin to a war than a disease. But alongside the catastrophic human toll of Ebola’s rampage across West Africa is an alarming trend affecting our nearest genetic cousins: Gorillas and chimpanzees, which have reportedly lost a full one-third of their global populations to Ebola since the 1990s.

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Gorillas in the Midst (of a Comeback)

According to the latest census, the number of mountain gorillas in central Africa is up by 26.3 percent since 2003. Nice work, Sigourney.


According to the latest census, the number of mountain gorillas living in the Volcanoes National Park in central Africa—the same ones from Gorillas in the Mistis up by 26.3 percent since 2003, and the population is growing at a rate of 3.7 percent a year.

Martha Robbins, the primatologist who led the study, called it a "spectacular upsurge." Credit for the gorillas' revival is being attributed to the International Gorilla Conservation Program, which in 2003 began helping local communities develop economically so they wouldn't rely on poaching. The movie probably helped generate interest as well.

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