Staff at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund (DFGF) are elated to announce the birth of a critically endangered mountain gorilla in Rwanda's Virunga Mountains – the first protected baby to be born in the wild this year. With fewer than 900 left in the world, each wild birth is cause for celebration. The little one (which has yet to be sexed) joins mother 'Kurudi' as the latest addition to the park's Shinda family. 

DFGF has been working to protect mountain gorillas since the mid '60s, when conservationist Dr Dian Fossey founded the Karisoke Research Centre in Rwanda’s Virunga Mountains. Fossey was tragically mudered in 1985 – a fate which has sadly come to many conservationists in the area – but her devotion to protecting the gorillas through empowering local communities lives on. "Ultimately, human poverty is the greatest threat to these animals," explains DFGF. "They live in countries with some of the highest human population densities and lowest adult life spans, literacy rates and standards of living in the world."

The team's work focuses on creating multifaceted conservation plans, which pair anti-poaching monitoring on the ground with education, outreach and aid programmes for local communities. "Helping people thrive helps gorillas survive," they say. "We've helped to stabilise the mountain gorilla population in Rwanda ... but the work is far from done. Now we are working to have the same impact on gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo."

To donate to the fund, and learn more about mountain gorillas, head over to the DFGF website.

Top header image: Rod Waddington/Flickr