Rarest African Ape Captured on Video
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.”
Identified as a separate western gorilla sub-species in 2000, Cross River gorillas have been studied for decades – although sightings and photographs were extremely rare. The gorillas exist only in the mountain forests that bridge Cameron and Nigeria.
They are threatened by illegal hunting for bushmeat and habitat loss. Extensive agriculture and logging operations divide the gorilla’s habitat into isolated blocks.
Click here to watch the video.