KAMPALA, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Uganda, the host of the largest number of mountain gorillas in the world, has called for continued efforts to conserve the primates despite their population going up.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), a state conservation agency, in a statement to Xinhua on Thursday said more efforts are needed to conserve the giant apes if their number is to continue growing.
"We don't have to be complacent, more is still needed, we have to ensure the population of mountain gorillas continue to increase, this will happen if we put poaching to zero levels and ensuring they don't contract diseases that can kill them," the statement said.
The statement follows a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which announced that mountain gorillas had been struck off their Red List of Threatened Species.
The body said on Thursday that mountain gorillas among others were no longer a threatened species since their world population had surpassed the 1,000 mark.
The increase in the number is attributed to the conservation efforts by the three host countries, Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
UWA said it will intensify its anti poaching campaigns and do day and night patrols to protect the gorillas.
Mountain gorillas, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, were a highly endangered sub-species of primate. They live in forests that have suffered from considerable human impact in the form of timber extraction and other human activity.
The primates are also a major source of tourism revenue to countries that host them.
According to UWA, tourists who come to see the gorillas contribute a considerable percentage to Uganda's tourism revenue. Uganda earns over 1.4 billion U.S. dollars from the tourism sector annually.