Cross River Gorilla

Nigeria, Cameroon

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Clade: Synapsida
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Primates
  • Suborder: Haplorhini
  • Family: Hominidae
  • Genus: Gorilla
  • Species: G. gorilla
  • Subspecies: G. g. diehli

Gorillas have come to be an animal we can relate to, an animal with a great likeness to that of humans in many ways. From high similarities in DNA to the visible lines on their palms, they are one of the greatest animals we share our planet with.

Amongst the gorilla family, there is a particular species which inhabits the Cross River region, an area located on the border of Nigeria and Cameroon, the Cross River Gorilla. This species resembles other gorillas in many ways, with an average weight of up to 440lbs and an average height of 4 to 5 ½ feet. However, one notable physical feature is the smaller skull size. A smaller skull size accounts for a smaller jaw, which is used to consume herbivorous foods found in the forest, such as leaves and fruit.

The Cross River Gorilla is currently critically endangered, with an estimation that only 200-300 exist in the wild today. These gorillas have come to be extremely cautious of humans, and for good reason too. Much of the Cross River Gorilla’s habitat is destroyed daily to make way for land to accommodate livestock, as well as to obtain timber from trees.

Poaching is a major problem for this species, with so few left, the unnecessary actions of humans continue to be catastrophic for the Cross River Gorilla population. Bush meat trade and Illegal pet trade in the region also threaten the species.

Major conservation is already taking place to protect the Cross River Gorilla, with educational programmes being distributed to local inhabitants, raising awareness and offering preventative solutions. Animal protection bodies have collaborated to create a safe area in the region for the Cross River Gorilla, which aims to encourage reproduction. With continued determination, this species can be saved from extinction.

Estimated Cross River Gorilla population figures between 2000 and 2016

The above graph has been created based on estimated population figures over a period of 16 years. Today the wild Cross River Gorilla population figure stands at just 200 to 300 individuals. When comparing todays population figure of an estimated 290 individuals to that of the year 2000, an estimated 923 individuals, it is clear that there has been a drastic decline.

In fact, the above figures estimate that 633 individuals have disappeared from the wild Cross River Gorilla population, around 69% of the original population in the year 2000. Such drastic decline rates are mainly due to illegal hunting, which still threaten the animals future to this day.

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