Cross River Gorilla Facts
Cross River Gorilla Facts : The Cross River Gorilla is a subspecies of the western gorilla, a new species which was named in 1904 by Paul Matschie who was a mammalian taxonomist working at the Humboldt University Zoological Museum in Berlin by then. There population were not surveyed until 1987.Currently, according to the researchers have estimated range size to determine that there are about 200 to 300 of Cross River gorillas left in the wild. They are scattered in at least 11 groups across the lowland montane forests and rainforests of Nigeria and Cameroon, on an area of 3,000 Square miles.
These subspecies are the most western gorillas and northern form of gorilla ‘’western lowland gorilla, that inhabits to the forested hills and mountains of the Cameroon-Nigeria border region at the headwaters of the cross River of Nigeria. Their separation is about 300kilomteres from the nearest population of western lowland subspecies and around 250 kilometers from the gorilla population in the Ebo Forest of Cameroon. Unfortunately, in 2014 the report came out estimating how the number of mature Cross River gorillas has decreased to more than 250 individuals thus making them the world’s rarest gentle giants.
They make their groups in 11 localities across a 12,000 square kilometers, though the current research field was confirmed that the presence of gorillas come from outside of their known localities thus suggesting a wider distribution within this range. They are supported by genetic research which proves evidence about the Cross River gorilla’s localities maintenance through the occasional dispersal of individuals. When it comes to 2009, the Cross River gorilla was seen captured on professional video on a forested mountain in Cameroon.
Description –Cross River Gorilla
The Cross River gorilla was first described as a new species of the western gorillas by A mammalian taxonomist –Paul Matschie in 1904.Later on in 1978 was confirmed as morphological distinctiveness and described as a distinct subspecies in 2000.
If we compare the Cross River gorilla to western lowland gorillas, they have smaller palates, smaller cranial vaults and shorter skulls. The Cross River gorilla is not of much different in terms of body size and bone length from western lowland gorillas.
The male cross River gorillas have shorter hands and feet as well as a larger opposability index than western lowland gorillas.
The Cross River gorilla have a barrel chest, small ears, a bare black face and chest, bare shaped brows that are joined and nostril margins that were raised and approved by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.
They are not the largest gorillas and their external characters still need to be verified.
Cross River Gorillas-Adult male have average height between 165-175 centimeter.
Adult male weight average between 140 -200 kilograms.
Adult female height has average of 140 centimeters.
Average adult female weight 100 kilograms.
Habitat and ecology –Cross River Gorilla
The Cross River gorilla is like other gorilla subspecies that prefer a dense forest habitat far away from the humans. And depending to the Cross River gorilla’s body size they require large and diverse areas of the forest to meet their natural habitat requirement. Which is similar to other endangered primates, their natural habitat exists where humans which are often reach and using for natural resources.
Where these species are inhabited the altitude ranges from 100 to 2,037 meters above sea level.
They also have wide range behavior and diet and their habitats are negatively affected by the drastic deforestation and fragmentation of the land.
Cross River gorillas lack ability to adapt to new environment and also have slow reproductive rate.
They face a threat of hunting them, logging, agriculture, fuel wood harvesting, clearance of lands for plantation and exploitation of natural resources.
They are listed by the ‘’IUCN ‘’ International Union for Conservation of Nature but under studied.
Due to limited territories of their natural has led them to estimate over 200 kilometers away from other gorilla population.
Their habit regions are legally protected due to their critically endangered status.
Behavior –Cross River Gorilla
The Cross River Gorilla live in nest group size, location of the nest, style of the nest, and nest re-use, depending on their current habitat, climate and food source availability.
Cross River gorillas lay their nests at night on the ground as opposed to trees. They do construct their nests during the wet season than the dry season and construct more arboreal nests in the wet season.
They have nest group size from four to seven individuals, although their nest group size varies depending on the location of the species.
The groups of Cross of River gorillas comprises of one male and six to seven females and offspring.
The Cross River gorillas that live in the highlands are densely populated compared to those in the lowland.
Their diet comprises largely of fruits, herbaceous vegetation, liana and tree bark throughout the year.
They usually live in small groups of 4 -7 individuals with a few males and a few female members.
Cross River Gorilla are well known as the least of all the gorilla subspecies. In partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the governments of Nigeria as well as Cameroon, ’’WWF’’ supports research carried out about the ecology, distribution and population biology of these animals. Due to threatening of these gorillas has led to decrease in number of Cross River Gorillas, the Cameroon Ministry of Forest and Wildlife have put hand in hand with great efforts to ensure that logging enterprises protect the wildlife corridors and waterways as well as fighting against poaching.