The Cross River Gorilla is one of four subspecies of gorillas and is classified as Critically Endangered. This highly elusive species lives on the Cross River that straddles the Nigeria and Cameroon Border. One of the biggest threats to the Cross River Gorillas is hunting. The species is supported in both range countries and for the past five years Taronga has contributed to this project.
The main objectives of the project are to protect the remaining population of these gorillas with poaching patrols and by providing alternative sources of income such as bee keeping and snail farming. Another objective is to help reduce hunting through conservation education.
2012 was a very successful year:
During 2012 over 35 patrols covered over 2000 km during which more than 3000 snares and 1000 bullet casings were removed. This was certainly an achievement! Another key area of development was a one-day workshop between the Nigeria and Cameroon conservation partners to help work on joint strategies to best support and protect the borders between the two countries.
Education is a key area of development and raising awareness of this species while reducing hunting is a primary objective. The original school-based program has been expanded to include community meetings, radio and film, as well as tree planting. It is hoped that by creating a greater deal of community awareness it will build interest and support in conservation. One of the interesting developments in this area is the use of film in remote villages that are unable to receive radio broadcasts. Films produced by the BBC were played through portable audio visual equipment followed by discussion on conservation topics.
School children sharing their conservation messages as part of the ongoing conservation education program.