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The Survival of the Cross River Gorillas

By Brayden Yin

On July 16, a species of gorilla thought to be extinct, called the Cross River gorilla, was seen with multiple babies on camera in Nigeria. The gorillas were threatened for years because of habitat loss for agriculture and hunting. Several communities worked with the hope that the nearly extinct Cross River gorilla was reproducing.

At one point, there were supposedly only 300 gorillas in a remote area of Nigeria and Cameroon. The gorillas stay away from humans and they are only found by detecting their nests, feeding trails, and poop. 50 cameras were set up in their habitat, and this is the first film of multiple infants. 

Except for small differences in skull size and tooth size, the Cross River gorillas look like Western gorillas. They are smaller than Eastern gorillas, and they have shorter and lighter-colored hair, and a ridge line that sticks out a bit more.

“It’s a big success story that shows that  communities can protect their wildlife,” says Andrew Dunn, the director for Nigeria of the Wildlife Conservation Society. The Cross River gorillas show that no species will go extinct if the conservation effort is strong enough.


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