Still, the news is discouraging. The mountain gorilla population may not be increasing like once believed. According to census data based on the old counting method, the population had grown from 300 in 1997 to 320 in 2003. However, the accuracy of the data is questionable. "Now we don't really know what is happening with this population," says Guschanski. "Probably the safest thing is to assume that the population is stable, but we will need to wait for another four to five years to assess how it is changing."