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New national park protects world's rarest gorilla
Date:11/26/2008

rotect these gorillas and will continue the conservation partnership between Cameroon and Nigeria."

In addition to protecting Cross River gorillas, the 676-square-kilometer (261-square-mile) Takamanda National Park will safeguard populations of forest elephants, chimpanzees, and drillsanother rare primate and a close relative of the better-known mandrill.

The Cross River gorilla is the rarest of the four gorilla subspecies. Other subspecies include: western lowland gorillas, eastern lowland or "Grauer's" gorillas, restricted to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and mountain gorillas, made famous by Dian Fossey and George Schaller. Earlier this year, WCS scientists discovered more than 125,000 western lowland gorillas in the northern Republic of Congo. WCS is the only conservation group working to safeguard the four subspecies, all of which are classified as "critically endangered" or "endangered" by the IUCN Red List.

Habitat destruction and hunting represent the biggest threats to Cross River gorillas. Gorillas are occasionally targeted by hunters of bushmeat in the region, and genetic analysis of the population reveals a reduction in numbers over the last 200 years that is most likely due to hunting. The fragmentation of their forest habitat is caused by farming, road-building, and the burning of forests by pastoralists.

Cameroon is one of seven African nations supported by the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) and the Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE). The U.S. government acting through the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has invested more than $60 million in biodiversity conservation in the Congo Basin. Together, this support has augmented funds for great apes conservation in the region through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administered Great Apes Conservation Fund. Since 2001, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has invested more than $
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Contact: John Delaney
jdelaney@wcs.org
718-220-3275
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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