Saving Cross River Gorillas

Living only among the rugged highlands that straddle the Nigeria-Cameroon border, the Cross River Gorilla is one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world. Once thought to be extinct, conservationists recently rediscovered a remnant population of Cross River Gorillas sequestered in some of Africa’s most remote and impenetrable forests.

With only about 300 Cross River Gorillas remaining, conservationists have rushed in to protect them, taking on a task made even more difficult by the habitat’s rugged landscape and the gorilla’s secretive nature. To overcome these difficulties, North Carolina Zoo Curator of Research and Conservation, Dr. Rich Bergl, trains and equips local rangers to track the gorillas, define their movements and habitat areas and improve the timing and the location of ranger patrols. The system helps protect not only the Cross River Gorilla, but all the other wildlife that share the gorillas’ forest home as well.

Soon, a highly-trained tracker dog will travel to Cameroon to sniff out more details on the local gorilla population. The dog will search for scat that researchers can mine for genetic information on the individuals in, and the demographics of, the gorilla population. Researchers use this information to guide their efforts to protect this rare gorilla.

This program operates in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Cross River State Forestry Commission, Cross River National Park and the Cameroon Ministry of Forests and Wildlife.

Funding for the Cross River Gorilla project is provided exclusively through the generosity of individual donors and the support of foundation and government grants.  To become part of the movement to protect Cross River Gorillas,  click here.

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