World Environment Community Health Animals Celebrity Submit A Site Find A Charity
Saving the Cross River Gorilla

By Joe DeCapua, Voice of America

1676 days ago   Article ID# 1509665
Original URL


Wildlife Conservation Society

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (Voice of America) - The U.S. is helping to save an elusive and endangered species of gorilla in West Africa. The Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wildlife Conservation Society have developed a five-year plan to ensure the survival of the primate.

Dirck Byler of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service said the Cross River gorilla is not as well-known as its relatives in other parts of Africa.

Critically endangered

“There’s two different species of gorilla actually. There’s the western gorilla and the eastern gorilla. And the one that people are most familiar with are the eastern gorillas, specifically the subspecies known as the mountain gorilla, which is found in Rwanda and Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The western gorilla is found in the western part of the Congo Basin in countries such as Cameroon, Gabon, northern Republic of the Congo. And then one of their subspecies is called the Cross River gorilla. And this is the most endangered gorilla species today,” he said.

In fact, the Cross River gorilla has been classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the IUCN.

“It’s much more endangered than the mountain gorilla is and unfortunately hasn’t received as much attention over the years,” said Byler.

Byler, program officer for the Great Ape Conservation Fund at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said it’s believed there are only a few hundred of the gorillas left.

“We don’t really have a good estimate of what the population was before, but it was likely many thousands. But over the last hundred years as human population has grown in this area they were hunted down to a very small level of 250 to 300 individuals scattered across 13 little pockets on the border of Nigeria and Cameroon,” he said.

Just 10 to 15 years ago, the Cross River gorilla was thought to be either extinct or nearly extinct.

“With actually a lot of support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the work of conservation NGOs like the Wildlife Conservation Society we’ve been able to get a handle on where the remaining populations exist. So our understanding from a scientific point of view has increased dramatically,” he said.

Survival of the subspecies

Two new national parks have opened in Cameroon that offer safe haven for the gorilla. One is the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary, which was created with a grant from the service. The other is the Takamanda National Park, which was converted from a forest reserve.

Part of the five-year plan to save the Cross River gorilla is to have local communities act as guardians for the primates.

Byler said, “Many of the gorilla populations still lie outside protected areas and national parks and will never probably be included in national parks. And so through working with local communities to curtail hunting and to provide alternatives to hunting in many of these places we think we can get a handle on hopefully stabilizing the population and even increasing it.”

So how many Cross River gorillas would there have to be in order for the species to be considered safe? Byler said it’s difficult to set what’s called a goal population.

“Maybe doubling the population in the next 20 or 30 years would be tremendous. And whether that would be enough to ensure its long term sustainability is in question, but it sure would be great progress if we could achieve that. The reproductive rate of gorillas is very slow and it takes a long time to actually increase a population,” he said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is able to offer its assistance in Africa and elsewhere through the Great Ape Conservation Fund. It was established by Congress in 2000. The fund allows the service to offer conservation grants ranging from $50,000 to $100,000.

Copyright 2016 Voice of America   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1676 days ago   Article ID# 1509665

Wildlife Conservation Society    View Charity Profile    Visit Website

More Wildlife Conservation Society News

World’s nations take a stand to save the helmeted hornbill from extinction

18 days ago From voices.nationalgeographic.com 


Hawai‘i signs nation’s broadest wildlife trafficking ban into law

113 days ago From humanesociety.org 


Poaching patrols raise hope for Thailand's tigers

194 days ago From news.sky.com 


Laos, China and Viet Nam enhance cooperation to combat transnational wildlife trafficking networks

197 days ago From newswise.com 


African wars endanger world's largest gorilla subspecies

200 days ago From eurekalert.org 


Go to page:   1    2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  Next >> 

<< Return To Animal News

Action Center

Climate change is dulling the survival instincts of fish

Action: Climate Change

The sensory systems of fish are short-circuiting, and a new study blames climate change.

As the climate warms, ...

Hunting threatens hundreds of animals with extinction

Action: Wildlife Conservation

The hunting of wildlife for bushmeat has become a “global crisis” that threatens to wipe out more than 300 species, or a quar ...

Gold mining deforestation in Peruvian reserve surpasses 450 hectares

Action: Stop Deforestation

In the past two months, another 100 hectares of tropical rainforest have been demolished in Tambopata National Reserve, where ...

Oregon: Say no to a massive new factory farm

Action: Stop Pollution

Oregon officials are considering whether to permit a new factory farm in the northeast's Umatilla River Basin, and we need yo ...

No, the Great Barrier Reef is not dead, but it is very, very sick

Action: Save Our Oceans

The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living structure, was trending on social media Friday, after it was declared dead ...

View All Actions >>





Follow Us


Find A Charity

Action Center




Twitter Support



Add A Site




Privacy Policy






Terms of Service

Copyright © The Charity Vault All rights reserved.