Conservationists working in Cameroon's Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary have collected the first camera trap video footage of the Cross River gorilla. With fewer than 250 individuals remaining, Cross River gorillas are the world's rarest gorilla and a notoriously elusive species rarely observed directly by field researchers.
Collected from one of four video camera traps set up by researchers in the protected area, the footage reveals eight Cross River gorillas casually making their way along a forest path.
"This video gives us all a spectacular view into the hidden world of one of our closest relatives, which is in dire need of our help to survive," said Steve Sanderson, WCS President and CEO.
Christopher Jameson, Director of WCS's Takamanda Mone Landscape Project, added: "The video represents the best images to date of Cross River gorillas, normally shy animals that flee at the slightest hint of human presence. The footage provides us with our first tantalizing glimpses of Cross River gorillas behaving normally in their environment. A person can study these animals for years and never even catch a glimpse of the gorillas, much less see anything like this."
Running at almost two minutes in length, the video begins with the entry of one gorilla, which sits at the base of a tree while others emerge from the dense forest. At one point, a male silverback appears, surveying the area (and perhaps aware of the camera) before running past the camera lens giving a classic "chest-beating" display. Another gorilla (appearing in the footage at around 1:18 in the sequence) appears to be missing a hand, a healed injury but a disquieting indicator of the presence of snares within the family group's range in the past before increased patrolling in the now-protected area.
"Cross River gorillas occur in very low densities across their entire range, so the appearance of a possible snare injury is a reminder that continued law enforcement
|Contact: John Delaney|
Wildlife Conservation Society