CRITICALLY ENDANGERED SPECIES | cross river gorilla
Scientists have been unable to thoroughly study the distribution and abundance of the Cross river Gorilla until the last decade or so. Because the gorillas are way of humans and inhabit rugged territory, scientists have been unable to count many of these gorillas directly. Instead, researchers have used indirect signs, such as nest counts, and estimated range sizes to determine that there are only about 200 to 300 of these gorillas left in the wild. Cross River Gorillas are scattered in at least 11 groups across the lowland montane forests and rainforests of Cameroon and Nigeria, an area of 3,000 square miles, or about twice the size of Rhode Island.
This subspecies of the western gorilla is very similar in appearance to the more numerous western lowland gorilla, but subtle differences can be found in the skull and tooth dimensions. Cross River gorillas live in a region populated by many humans who have encroached upon the gorilla’s territory—clearing forests for timber and to create fields for agriculture and livestock. Poaching occurs in the forests as well, and the loss of even a few of these gorillas has a detrimental effect on such a small population.
Efforts to protect these animals are focused on securing the forests that house them. WWF and partners have worked with the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria to create a protected area for the Cross River gorilla that spans the border of these two nations.
Source: World Wildlife Fund
Borneo and Sumatra
Lowland rainforests and tropical swamp and mountain forests
200 to 300 individuals
• SCIENTIFIC NAME
4 to 5 1/2 feet when standing on two feet
up to 440 pounds
WHY THEY MATTER
The hunting and killing of gorillas is illegal in Cameroon and Nigeria, but enforcement of wildlife laws is often lax. Following conservation efforts, hunting has declined to a low level, but any amount of gorilla killing will have a significant impact on an already small population.
WHY THEY ARE CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
HOW YOU CAN HELP
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Source of all information provided on page: World Wildlife Fund