Animal

World’s rarest gorilla spotted with offspring in Nigeria’s jungle


This photo taken by a camera trap shows a group of Cross River gorillas in the Mbe Mountains of Nigeria on Monday, June 22, 2020 (WCS Nigeria/AP)

Photos showing some of the world’s rarest gorillas in the wild have been released.

Cross River gorillas are extremely endangered and only 300 are believed to still be alive on the planet. They are the rarest of all the great apes.

These new photos, captured remotely earlier this year, show the creatures in the mountainous region of southern Nigeria. And even better, the shots reveal a number of infant gorillas as well.

These pictures are fuelling hopes that the Cross River gorillas are surviving and reproducing.

The sub-species is known to inhabit some regions in Nigeria and Cameroon but are hardly ever seen.

There are only believed to be 300 left in the world (WCS Nigeria/Reuters)
Habitat loss and hunting have taken the sub-species to the edge of extinction (WCS Nigeria/Reuters)

‘Cross River gorillas were formerly more widespread and abundant than they are today, the result of hunting and habitat loss,’ explains the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Nigeria.

‘Although hunting has been reduced in recent years, the loss of even a few individuals to poaching represents a major threat to the long-term viability of the population.’

Conservationists hope the gorillas are reproducing (WCS Nigeria/AP)

The organisation continues: ‘Cross River gorillas may not be specifically targeted by hunters, but the widespread use of wire snares set to trap small mammals, represents a threat to their survival. For such a small fragmented population, habitat loss and fragmentation are further reducing connectivity between sites, increasing their isolation from one another and reducing opportunities for gene flow.’

The WCS has a number of initiatives in place to try and protect the gorillas and is working with authorities in the area to raise awareness and stop hunters.





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