The population of a gorilla subspecies living in Central Africa is in steep decline, largely due to civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a new report.
Fewer than 3,800 Grauer’s gorillas still live in the wild—down 77% from 17,000 in 1998, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing a report published by the Wildlife Conservation Society, Flora and Fauna International and the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature.
The civil war, the establishment of mining camps and the growth of hunting to feed miners have all contributed to the population decline of the endangered animal. The report recommends regulating mining sites, disarming miners and creating new protected areas, among other solutions.
“The crash in the gorilla population is a consequence of the human tragedy that has played out in eastern DRC,” report co-author Jefferson Hall, a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, said in a statement, reported by the Post. “Armed factions terrorize innocent people and divide up the spoils of war with absolutely no concern for the victims or the environment.”
Mountain gorillas have also been impacted by the conflict, and fewer than 700 mountain gorillas, a closely related subspecies, are thought to live in the wild, the Post reported.