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Conservation project 6 of 6
Title
Cross River Gorilla Project
Location
Kagwene Mountain, Cameroon
Gorillas
Cross River gorillas
Local Partner:   WCS - Wildlife Conservation Society
Description

The Cross River gorilla is the most critically endangered ape in Africa, with fewer than 300 individuals remaining on the Nigeria-Cameroon border. Populations are spread across an area of just 12,000Km and are primarily threatened by hunting and habitat destruction resulting from human pressure. To secure the future of these apes, the Gorilla Organization partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in 2007, pledging financial support to facilitate development of the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary, Cameroon, through the Cross River Gorilla Project.

The overall objective is to secure the future of the Cross River gorilla. The specific objectives are:

  • To establish a management strategy for the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary
  • To continue ecological monitoring of the gorillas on the Kagwene Mountain
  • To develop the permanent research camp on the edge of the forest in the Kagwene Mountain

 

 

 

Progress

Kagwene Mountain is home to 20 – 30 Cross River gorillas, which survive in a small area of just 19Km2. While this group has not been hunted, nine villages surround the mountain and farming by local people is encroaching further and further into the forest, while pastoral cattle herders have already converted much of it to grassland. Research on Kagwene Mountain began in 2002, and in 2008 the sanctuary was gazetted, offering it legal protection for the first time and thus reducing its vulnerability.

Field trackers carry out daily patrols to monitor, research and protect the gorillas, while also collecting data on their behaviour and ecology. Since the reserve was gazetted, it has also secured the support of a warden and two rangers, enhancing patrols to counter illegal activities such as trapping and farming. Project staff have already witnessed a reduction in these activities, and over the next few years it is expected that they will be all but eliminated. The installation of a solar power system has eased the use of computer equipment and facilitated training in basic IT skills, in turn enabling staff to input field data on site. Law enforcement and anti-poaching patrols continue and a management strategy is being put in place to ensure that such activities operate in a manner which gives the gorillas the best possible chance of survival.

 

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