The Cross River Gorilla is Africa's most endangered great ape, with only between 200 and 300 of these elusive creatures left. Conservation efforts are underway in Cameroon and Nigeria to bring the tiny population of Cross River Gorillas back from the brink by tackling forest loss and poaching.
Amazing Facts About the Cross River Gorilla
- The Cross River Gorilla is a subspecies of the Western Gorilla.
- There are currently only 200-300 Cross River Gorillas left in the wild, making them the most endangered great ape in Africa.
- They live in mountainous border area between Cameroon and Nigeria at the top of the Cross River, after which they are named. The entire population is spread over an area of about 3000 sq miles, which is about twice the size of Rhode Island.
What threats does the Cross River Gorilla face?
- These Gorillas have been hunted extensively in the past, meaning the remaining population is shy and avoids human contact. Sightings are very rare.
- The tiny remaining population of the Cross River Gorilla means that genetic diversity is low, leaving the population less able to adapt and cope with diseases, and vulnerable to inbreeding, which can make successful reproduction more difficult.
- The remaining Cross River Gorillas are under threat as their habitat continues to be lost as a result of deforestation. Even though they are a protected species, hunting for bushmeat continues to be a problem, with an estimated 1-3 Cross River Gorillas lost to poachers every year.
- Conservation programmes in Nigeria and Cameroon are attempting to prevent the extinction of this gentle giant. They are focusing on building local community support for the protection of this species and landscape-scale habitat conservation, which involves maintaining and restoring ‘corridors’ of forest to connect up the main sanctuaries and National Parks where these gorillas reside.
- Type: Mammal
- Diet: Herbivore
- Lifespan: 30-50 years
- Size: Height 4-5.5 feet (1.2m -1.67m)
- Weight: Up up 440 lbs (199kg)
- Habitat: Lowland rainforests
- Range: Congo basin
- Scientific name: Gorilla gorilla diehli