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New report says some gorillas only years from extinction

Jenny, a western lowland gorilla and the world's oldest captive gorilla, eats a piece of birthday cake as the Dallas Zoo celebrates her 55th birthday, Thursday, May 8, 2008, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Jenny, a western lowland gorilla and the world's oldest captive gorilla, eats a piece of birthday cake as the Dallas Zoo celebrates her 55th birthday, Thursday, May 8, 2008, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - A U.N. official who predicted that only 10 percent of gorillas in central Africa would remain by 2030 now says that was too optimistic.

Christian Nellemann of the U.N. Environmental Program says they now fear gorillas in that region could be extinct in 15 years. Apes are under pressure from illegal logging, mining, and hunters who kill them for meat. Nellemann says militant factions have also taken over gorilla land, making protection of gorillas extremely difficult.

But the report from the United Nations and Interpol does contain some good news. An unpublished survey of one area of eastern Congo, in the center of the conflict zone, discovered 750 previously unknown eastern lowland gorillas, which are a critically endangered species.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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