Hi, this is Jean Claude,
Over the past few weeks, Mount Tshiaberimu really has been buzzing as scientists from around the world carry out exciting research into both the mountain gorillas and a wide range of other wildlife living in this part of DR Congo.
For example, an international team of researchers, including Dr Taranjit Kaur at Virginia Tech and Kathryn Williamson from the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, have been analysing fecal samples collected on Mt Tshiaberimu and looking for signs of possible malarial infections among the small gorilla population here. So far, none of the samples taken have shown such an infection to be present, though the team will carry on their research into the exact causes of the gorilla deaths seen here between 2008 and 2010.
My colleagues at Kinshasa University have also been focusing on how monkeys are contributing to the destruction of bamboo shoots in the forests on Mount Tshiaberimu as they continue to assess the both the genetics and the long-term viability of the remaining gorilla population here.
Meanwhile, since my last blog posting, Professor Eli B Greenbaum – from Harvard University – has been able to confirm that the two specimens from the tree frog Leptopelis he collected here are genetically distinct from all other tree frogs he has studied in sub-Saharan Africa. Once classified and formally recognised, this new species could help boost Mount Tshiaberimu’s status as a place of real ecological importance, which is good news for the critically-endangered mountain gorilla population!
Once again, I will be sure to keep you informed of any further developments.