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10th May 2012
Rare Cross River gorillas are caught on film in the wild giving researchers a valuable insight into their behaviour
Cross River gorillas, the world's rarest gorilla, are one of the world's most endangered and elusive species, and are notoriously difficult to see in the wild. However, new footage captured by the Wildlife Conservation Society is giving researchers committed to studying their behaviour a valuable new insight.
The footage, caught by installing motion sensitive cameras in Cameroon's Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary, is extremely unusual and reveals the best images of the species to date, including a charge from a silver back male. Most camera traps only catch fleeting glimpses of their target species. However in this footage, eight gorillas linger for around two minutes.
"The footage provides us with our first tantalizing glimpses of Cross River gorillas behaving normally in their environment," says Christopher Jameson, director of the Takamanda Mone Landscape Project, "A person can study these animals for years and never even catch a glimpse of the gorillas, much less see anything like this."
It is estimated that there less than 300 individual Cross River gorillas left in the wild, mainly due to loss of habitat and poaching. The largest Cross River gorilla population is found in Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary in Nigeria, however the nearest sub-population of gorillas is only accessible by crossing farmland and other human-inhabited areas.
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