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May 082012
 

From Yale Environment 360

A camera trap video in Cameroon has captured nearly two minutes of film of the Cross River gorilla, the rarest of the four sub-species of gorillas and one that is seldom seen in the wild.

The footage shows a group of eight gorillas walking through the forest in Cameroon’s Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary, their feet loudly crunching over the leaves on the forest floor.

Suddenly, a silverback gorilla, perhaps sensing the camera trap, bluff-charges past the camera, pounding its chest as it runs. The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which helped set up the traps, says it is the best footage ever captured of Cross River gorillas, a sub-species with fewer than 250 individuals remaining.

In the footage, one of the gorillas is clearly missing a hand, perhaps the result of it getting caught in a snare. Hunting and habitat destruction in the creatures’ last refuge — the mountainous border region of Cameroon and Nigeria — have whittled away populations of the Cross River gorilla. But the Cameroon government, WCS, and local wardens have launched an improved system of protection that seems to have halted the animals’ decline.

Cross River Gorilla (Photo: Julie Langford, Limbewildlife.org.)