Cross River Gorilla

Calvin Blauser, Writer

The Cross River gorilla is a subspecies of the western gorilla. It was named a new species in 1904 by Paul Matschie, a mammalian taxonomist working at the Humboldt University Zoological Museum in Berlin, but its populations were not systematically surveyed until 1987. 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. Reasons for the extinction of the Cross River gorilla include: Overhunting, forest fires and loss of genetic diversity, due to their small population and even smaller grouping size (4-7 individuals) and fragmented population. Train teams of eco-guards to improve the protection and monitoring of Cross River gorillas. Develop sustainable alternative livelihoods such as bee-keeping and ecotourism to reduce pressure on the forest. Increase local awareness about the status of Cross River gorillas and other threatened species.