Primate expert Inza Koné, who has served as a member of the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) Scientific Commission since 2007, has won a Whitley Fund for Nature award in support of community conservation projects in his native Cote d’Ivoire.
Koné was honored for his work to protect the 12,000-hectare Tanoé Forest, which is home to critically endangered monkey species, including Miss Waldron’s red colobus, which is so rare that scientists had considered it extinct as recently as 2000.
Koné received his Whitley Fund for Nature award at a ceremony the Royal Geographical Society in London, where he was lauded for “acting to secure a better future for people and wildlife in a last stronghold of West Africa’s three most endangered primates. “ Princess Anne presented the award, which included a USD $50,000 cash prize.
Camera traps set up in the forests of western Cameroon have captured some the first video of critically endangered Cross River gorillas, a species so rare that no more than 300 individuals are believed to exist in the wild.
The cameras – which are triggered by motion sensors – clearly identify a family of four gorillas moving through the Cameroon’s Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary. Although one gorilla appears to be missing a hand, the group appears otherwise healthy in the nearly two-minute clip.
The camera traps are part of a conservation project led by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which works with the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) and other organizations in the region to protect Cross River gorillas and their habitat.
“This video is extremely important, both from a scientific point of view and as a means of emphasizing the plight of the Cross River gorillas,” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. “This footage illustrates the beauty and the fragility of the species, and adds urgency to the fight to protect them.”