A group of rare Cross River gorillas with their babies has been photographed in Nigeria’s Mbe mountains, which proves that the subspecies is reproducing amid protection efforts.
Wildlife Conservation Society reported only around 300 Cross River gorillas left in the isolated mountainous region in Nigeria and Cameroon, fearing its almost extinction. But more color images were recovered by conservationists last month.
“It was great to see evidence that these gorillas in these mountains are reproducing successfully, because there have been so few images in the past,” John Oates, professor emeritus at the City University of New York and a primatologist who helped establish the conservation efforts for the gorillas, told the Associated Press. “We know very little about what is going on with the reproduction with this subspecies, so to see many young animals is a positive sign.”
In 2012, they have set up 50 cameras in Cameroon’s Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary and in Nigeria’s Mbe Mountains community forest, and Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary. They have captured multiple images, but Cross River gorillas are very hard to capture on camera, and there were no images of them with multiple infants.
The Conservation Association of the Mbe Mountains, composed of nine local communities, worked together along with the Wildlife Conservation Society since the mid-1990s to protect the Cross River gorillas. Since that time, no gorilla deaths were recorded in Nigeria, according to the society.
“It’s a big success story that shows communities can protect their wildlife,” Andrew Dunn, society’s Nigeria county director, told AP.