Cross River Gorilla
Gorilla gorilla diehli
The Cross River gorilla is critically endangered due to the following combined threats:
- 95 percent of its population died from the 2004 Ebola outbreak
- Killing for wildlife meat trade
- Hunting for trophies, pets, medicinal use, and magical charms
- Habitat loss due to commercial logging activities, road construction, and agricultural purposes
- Lack of legal protection against illegal logging of protected areas
The Cross River Gorilla, the world’s rarest great ape, can be found in the Nigeria-Cameroon forest borders. As of 2015, this western gorilla subspecies is classified as a critically endangered primate with as few as 100 remaining individuals in the wild, although some estimates say there could be up to 300 remaining.
The lowland mountain forests and rainforests of Nigeria and Cameroon where they live are long considered as a biodiversity hotspot and a protected sanctuary. But the demand for timber emboldened logging companies to encroach these previously inaccessible areas. This either led to the destruction of the Cross River Gorillas’ main habitat or exposed them to commercial hunting.
They are hunted down to be sold as pets or trophies as well as killed for its meat or body parts used for traditional medicine. Combined with the deadly Ebola virus which claimed 95 percent of the 600 identified Cross River Gorillas across the region, this has significantly affected the survival of these African endemic gorillas.