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Nigerian researcher wins Ymke Warren Award for Cross River gorilla studies


Emmanuel Bassey has won the Ymke Warren Memorial Award for his important work studying gorillas in the forests of his native Nigeria

Emmanuel Sampson Bassey has won the 2019 Ymke Warren Memorial Conservation Award in recognition of the important research he is carrying out into Cross River gorillas living in the Balegete-Mbuli forest of Nigeria.

The forest lies on the edge of the Cross River National Park, the only place in the world that the critically-endangered sub-species of gorilla is found. While the main range of the gorillas is inside the National Park, individuals have also been recorded living in the unprotected Balegete-Mbuli forest. This funding from the Gorilla Organization will help Emmanuel carry out research into the behavior of these gorillas. Additionally, with the gorillas threatened by both hunting and habitat loss, the project will also include important community outreach work, making local people custodians of the forest.

The Ymke Warren Memorial Conservation Award was established to fund promising young African primatologists carrying out research that can add to our understanding of gorillas in the wild. While this year’s competition saw applications from many very strong candidates, the jury was particularly impressed by Emmanuel’s strong track record of working at the frontline of gorilla conservation, as well as his commitment to the community-centred values that are at the heart of the Gorilla Organization’s own work.

“I am overwhelmed by the good news that I have been selected as the recipient of this year’s Ymke Warren Memorial Conservation Award,” Emmanuel said.

“The conservation of wild great apes requires a detailed understanding of their population size, spatial distribution and demographic trend. This information can only be obtained through surveys and monitoring programs. I feel confident that this award will help me to obtain very vital baseline scientific information critical to the conservation of the critically endangered subspecies of gorilla. Hopefully the findings from this work will lead to the formation of a Community-based Gorilla Conservation Program.”

Applications for the 2020 Ymke Warren Memorial Conservation Award will open soon. Follow the Gorilla Organization on social media to stay informed.