YALE ENVIRONMENT 360
African Conservation Foundation/Wikimedia Commons
The Cross River gorilla holds the lamentable distinction of being the world’s rarest ape. Inhabiting an arc of mountainous forest along the Nigeria-Cameroon border, this primate was thought by scientists to be extinct until it was rediscovered in the 1980s. Today, fewer than 300 members of the Cross River subspecies exist, most squeezed into high, rugged terrain as rising human populations hem them in.
Leading the fight to save these beleaguered apes is a Nigerian scientist who comes from Cross River State and knows its forests — and its people — intimately. Inaoyom Imong, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Cross River Gorilla Landscape Project, is taking the practice of local community engagement to a new level as he and his colleagues work to pull the Cross River gorillas back from the brink.
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