Who: World Wildlife Fund (WWF) What: Cross River Gorilla (critically endangered) Where: Cameroon and Nigeria, Africa Why: The Cross River Gorilla is a subspecies of the western gorilla that lives in a region populated by many humans who have encroached upon the gorilla’s territory—clearing forests for timber, agriculture and livestock. Poaching occurs in the forests as well, and the loss of even a few of these gorillas has a detrimental effect on such a small population. In addition to those threats, diseases such as the Ebola virus also impact the population.
Because gorillas are wary of humans and inhabit rugged territory, they are difficult to count directly. Instead, researchers have used indirect means, such as nest counts, and estimated range sizes to determine only about 200 to 300 of these gorillas are left in the wild in an area of 3,000 square miles (about twice the size of Rhode Island).
WWF and its partners have worked with the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria to create a protected area for the Cross River Gorilla that spans the border of these two nations to provide a safe habitat for them.