Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Rare Gorilla Twins Born In Uganda

gorilla twinsRare mountain gorilla twins have been born in Uganda's Bwindi Forest, home to around half the world's population of the endangered primates, a wildlife official said Wednesday.

The twins were born to a gorilla called Kwintonda early last month, said Lillian Nsubuga, spokeswoman for the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

"It is only the second time in history that we are aware of twins being born in Uganda," Nsubuga told AFP, adding that the twins were healthy.

"The fact that they have survived the harsh rains of November means that they are probably going to be OK."

Mountain gorillas are the cornerstone of Uganda's tourism industry and Nsubuga predicted the twins' arrival will boost tourist numbers.

"The word hadn't really gotten out, so it was a pleasant surprise for some tourists. But now that the information is public, we expect that many tourists will be requesting to see the family."

Bwindi is home to an estimated 340 mountain gorillas, around half the global population, according to the most recent survey conducted between 2006 and 2007.

The twins were sired by Safari, a dominant male, who took over the leadership of his group in April after the death of his predecessor.

Kwitonda is estimated to be between 15 to 20 years old. Female gorillas begin bearing children at between seven to eight years of age and continue up to 30.

Story here.

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