Cross River gorilla
The Cross River gorilla is one of the two subspecies of the western gorilla species.
Cross River gorilla
Gorilla gorilla diehli
IUCN Red List classification
- Gorillas are the largest living primate and are quadrupedal (using four legs) herbivores (eats plants). Typically gorillas live in social groups (of 5-20 individuals) that are comprised of females, immature males, and one mature, silverback, male. The western species consumes more fruit than the eastern species and, reflecting its need to climb trees to access fruit, is generally smaller and lighter. The Cross River gorilla subspecies differs from the western lowland gorilla subspecies in skull and tooth dimensions.
- This subspecies is found in hilly rainforest on the Nigeria-Cameroon border.
- Tool use by Cross River gorillas has been observed and is thought to be unique to the gorillas of this region and possibly a result of their interactions with humans.
- Fewer than 300 Cross River gorillas, concentrated in approximately 11 localities, are thought to still exist in the wild and The IUCN Primate specialist group lists the Cross River gorilla as one of the world’s 25 most endangered primate species. The small and fragmented nature of Cross River gorilla populations means the subspecies is especially sensitive to habitat loss and hunting pressure as well as being highly threatened by the loss of genetic diversity and therefore genetic health.
- Conservation efforts for the Cross River gorilla have dramatically increased in the last decade and there is now a broad program of research and conservation activities in both Nigeria and Cameroon. This program has involved universities, government agencies in both countries, the World Conservation Society (WCS), Flora and Fauna International (FFI), NCS, WWF, the Pandrillus Foundation, and Cameroon’s Environment and Rural Development Foundation. A series of workshops have been held to plan conservation activities and in 2007 an action plan was published: Cross River Gorilla Action Plan
The UNEP Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the UNEP/UNESCO Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) have declared 2009 the Year of the Gorilla. Find out more at the Year of the Gorilla website.