By John Ikani
There are fewer than 300 of these gorillas remaining in their natural habitat.
Approximately 100 of them reside in Nigeria’s Cross River state, while the rest are found in Cameroon.
This was made known by the Wild Africa Fund in commemoration of World Gorilla Day.
Celebrated every 24th of September, World Gorilla Day brings people from all corners of the globe together to shed light on gorillas and their conservation efforts.
In observance of this year’s World Gorilla Day, the Wild Africa Fund warns that activities such as commercial bushmeat trade, deforestation, and habitat destruction pose a severe threat that could potentially drive gorillas to extinction.
The fund, in its statement marking the occasion, highlights the potential for gorillas to become a source of revenue through tourism.
The statement issued a call to the Nigerian public, urging them to play a role in safeguarding the remaining gorilla population.
Emphasizing the dire situation, it points out that Cross River gorillas inhabit the mountainous border region between Nigeria and Cameroon and stand as Africa’s most endangered ape species.
“The Cross River gorilla is one of Nigeria’s most iconic and cherished wildlife species but faces numerous threats, including hunting and habitat loss due to agricultural expansion, commercial logging, and the encroachment of human settlements into its habitat,” it adds.
Also lending his voice to the cause, Mr Festus Iyorah, Nigeria Representative at Wild Africa Fund, states, “We cannot afford to lose even one of our 100 Cross River gorillas at this critical stage. Let us all come together to protect the Cross River gorilla and ensure that this remarkable species continues to thrive in our country for generations to come.”
Wild Africa Fund further recognized the efforts of the National Park Service and the Cross River State Government, along with local and international conservation organizations, in safeguarding gorilla habitats, enforcing anti-poaching laws, and promoting community-based conservation initiatives.