Cross River Gorilla Project
The Great Gorillas Project will not only enable Paignton Zoo to continue its vital conservation and education work, it will also make a difference in saving Cross River gorillas from extinction. The Cross River gorilla closely resembles the lowland gorilla found at Paignton Zoo.
Once thought to be extinct, this unique subspecies of gorilla ‘resurfaced’ in the 1980s and is found only along the southern section of the Nigeria-Cameroon border. Fewer than 300 Cross Rivera gorillas remain in the wild and it is the most endangered African ape, ranking among the world's 25 most endangered primate species. Illegal hunting for bushmeat and habitat loss threaten the future of Cross River gorillas.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has supported Cross Rivera gorilla research and conservation efforts since 1996, helping to manage protected areas that provide refuge to these gravely endangered apes.
- together with the government of Cameroon and other partners, has helped to create Takamanda National Park, which safeguards a third of the Cross River gorilla population;
- is involved in long-term research studies in Nigeria and Cameroon, giving us a better understanding of Cross River gorilla ecology;
- has led a series of international workshops to address this gorilla´s conservation;
- following the recommendations of the 2007 Regional Action Plan for the Conservation of the Cross River Gorilla, is committed to improving legislation and law enforcement as well as to investigating how ecotourism could support local conservation projects;
- has established educational outreach programs for several communities living in and around Cross River gorilla habitat; and
- is seeking to generate more sustainable livelihoods and encouraging hunters to transfer their skills to further gorilla research and conservation.
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