World's rarest gorilla gets its own forest reserve

18 April 2008 General News

The Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary — created by Prime Minister Ephraim Inoni's decree — covers 19.5 sq km in a mountainous region of Cameroon. WCS estimates the area is home to 20 of the world's remaining 300 Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli).

The Bronx Zoo-based group says that the gorillas of Kagwene have been protected from the poaching that otherwise affects apes in the region by the local belief that gorillas are people. The consumption of gorilla meat is therefore taboo.

Courtesy of the Wildlife Conservation Society

Outside of Kagwene, the Cross River gorilla has been greatly affected by habitat loss and fragmentation due to logging, forest conversion for agriculture and grazing lands, and road construction.

"The creation of this sanctuary is the fruit of many years of work in helping to protect the world’s rarest gorilla subspecies," said Dr. Roger Fotso, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Cameroon Program.

"Hopefully, this and other sanctuaries like it will give us time to protect and learn more about the world’s rarest great ape," added Dr. James Deutsch, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Africa Program.

WCS worked with the Cameroon Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife and used funding from the United States Fish & Wildlife Service to create Kagwene.


Time running out for world's rarest gorilla June 21, 2007
Time is running out for the world's rarest subspecies of gorilla, the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli) from the mountainous border region between Cameroon and Nigeria. With less than 300 individuals remaining, conservationists have drawn up a new plan to save the great ape from extinction.

Carbon traders, not conservationists, could save Cameroon rainforest February 15, 2008
The government of Cameroon is looking to lease 830,000 hectares of biodiverse tropical forest to conservationists for an annual sum of $1.6 million. The problem? No conservation groups are interested. Apparently the asking price is too high, according to The Economist.

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