They are called Cross River gorillas, and their numbers just got a little bit bigger.
The Wildlife Conservation Society in Nigeria has released photos taken in the Mbe Mountains that show the gorillas with their new babies. It has been years since photos of their kind have been shown publicly.
There are not many of these gorillas to photograph: just 300 of them have been identified in the wild today. With so few known individuals of the species, Cross River gorillas aren’t just the rarest gorillas. They’re also the rarest currently existing great ape—a classification that includes gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos, and humans.
So, a sighting of a Cross River gorilla is a rare event. They also tend to stay out of the way of humans and favor highlands, living in the mountains of Nigeria and Cameroon.
The ideal is that these endangered animals start reproducing at a rate that will increase their numbers. The images showing baby gorillas suggest that they are indeed reproducing. Hopefully, more babies are on the way.
Organisations are working together to protect these gorillas. The Wildlife Conservation Society is teaming up with local authorities and the Conservation Association of the Mbe Mountains.
The World Wildlife Fund is also involved. They have an African Great Apes Programme that is focused on helping support the Cross River gorilla population:
– We are working to improve cooperation between Nigeria and Cameroon for protecting the subspecies
– In Cameroon, we contributed to initiatives that led to the establishment of a new sanctuary in the Kagwene Mountains.
– WWF is also supporting government efforts to supervise the management of Campo Ma’an National Park in Cameroon and encourage sustainable use of forest resources in its buffer zone.
– In Nigeria, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, a WWF Affiliate, is working with communities in the Cross River National Park.
– Future projects will focus on establishing protected corridors of forest habitat that will allow safe movement of gorillas between different groupsWWF
Take a look at the curious gorillas and their peeking babies, courtesy of Nigeria’s chapter of the Wildlife Conservation Society:
Featured image source: Wildlife Conservation Society Nigeria