It was freezing here today and a sure sign that winter has set in. Therefore I am putting on my shorts and going somewhere hot today. I am sure I will warm up while looking for the Cross River Gorilla in the jungles of Africa. Fortunately, this trip make take quite a bit of time since there are only about 300 of these Gorilla’s left in the wild. Unfortunately, there are only about 300 of these Gorilla’s left in the wild, which puts them on IUCN’s 25 most endangered primates list. I will touch on their population status a little more towards the end of the article but first let’s get to Africa and learn about these beautiful beasts.
The Cross River Gorilla is a subspecies of the Western Gorilla and can be found hanging out in the tropical jungles of western and central Africa. More specifically there are 11 locations around the border of Nigeria and Cameroon where you can hope to catch a glimpse of these disappearing apes. Interestingly enough the Cross River Gorilla looks similar to the other Western Gorilla subspecies, the Western Lowland Gorilla. There are some differences in skull and tooth dimensions which separates the two apart. It is estimated that there are about 100 000 Lowland Gorilla’s still remaining in the wild. Does anybody else wonder how two very similar species could have such drastic differences in population size? Well, I guess we could always ask our neanderthal ancestors about this type of discrepancy.
Watching the Cross River Gorilla dwindle in size is painful since they are practically family. They belong to the Great Apes which is a group of animals that include Orangutans, Chimpanzees and of course Humans. Since they are part of this special group they have developed a few handy adaptations including opposable thumbs. They also have their own reality shows such as Cross River Shore, Africa’s Next Top Model, Dancing with the Apes and of course Survivor – Africa, which is just pretty much every day for the remaining 300 Cross River Gorilla’s.
At one point in time it was believed that this particular Gorilla subspecies was actually extinct. Luckily they were rediscovered in the 1980’s so what are the chances that an animal could go extinct twice? Well, if illegal hunting and the loss of habitat continues as it has been then they they may very well be voted off the continent. Organizations such as the Wildlife Conservation Society and the WWF have programs supporting research as well as plans to prevent poaching. I recommend clicking on their names to learn more about how you can help save this wonderful animal. Please don’t let the last words the Cross River Gorilla hears be “The Tribe has Spoken”.
Enjoy the rest of your day folks!