BECOMING A PRIMATE PRO... SORT OF
10 OF THE MOST ENDANGERED PRIMATE SPECIES
#6 CROSS RIVER GORILLA
Gorilla gorilla diehli
As a subspecies of the western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla), this primate has three parts to its name: the genus, Gorilla, the species, gorilla, and the subspecies, dielhi
Common names are not officially defined. They are based on everyday conversational language and may differ by country, region, profession, community, or other factors. As a result, it is not unusual for a species to have more than one common name.
Scientific names are in Latin and they are written in italics. They are standardized and for everyone, no matter what language you may speak. They are bound by a formal naming system, called binominal nomenclature, that has strict rules. Scientific names prevent misidentification. Those names only change if a species, or its genus, is officially redesignated by experts.
Cross River gorillas inhabit the lowland montane forests and rainforests of Cameroon and Nigeria, an area of 3,000 square miles (7,770 sq km), on the African continent.
- The Cross River gorilla is the rarest of all apes
- Unknown to scientists until the early 20th century, they were forgotten then “rediscovered” after having been believed to be hunted to extinction
- Only 200-300 individuals remain
- Cross River gorillas are one of the world’s 25 most endangered primate species
Once hunted to near extinction, habitat loss is now the looming threat to the survival of Cross River gorillas. Lush forests have been razed and transformed for agriculture, cattle grazing, and the creation of logging roads. Civil unrest has also impacted the small population of gorillas. And even though the hunting of gorillas is illegal in Cameroon and Nigeria, the gorillas are vulnerable to poaching. Inbreeding and the transmission of human diseases, specifically the Ebola virus, also threaten this great ape’s survival.
- Gorillas are very very large. Although gentle giants, they are wild animals. Their dietary and environmental needs cannot be adequately met or replicated in human living conditions.
- To become pets, baby primates are stolen from their mothers. As a result, they do not develop normally emotionally.
- When taken from the wild, their mothers are killed to capture the baby. Other family members are likely to be killed as well while attempting to protect the mother and baby.
- Trade in Critically Endangered Species is illegal.
- Primates are never domesticated. They always remain wild.
- Caged primates are very unhappy and frustrated. They are likely to resist confinement. They are quick and cause damaging bites and scratches. Some die as a result of their captivity.
- Many locations have strict regulations that prohibit trading in or keeping primates and endangered species are pets.
- Cross River gorillas belong with other gorillas in the forests and rainforests of Cameroon and Nigeria. They and their habitats must be protected, not exploited.