Ebo Forest Research Project
Found in 6 African countries (Angola, Gabon, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo and Equatorial Guinea), western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) are estimated to total less than 150,000 in number. Classed as critically endangered on the IUCN’s Red List, the species is a victim of habitat destruction, being hunted for its meat and the illegal trade in its young, diseases caused by living in ever-greater proximity with humans, and armed conflicts that interfere with the enforcement of conservation laws in its range.
After the discovery of a small gorilla population in 2002 in the Ebo Forest (Cameroon), two research stations were established on site. More than a dozen threatened species of primates have been identified and are monitored since then.
The gorilla discovered population is geographically intermediate between 2 distinct populations of western gorillas: western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) living in Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Congo-Brazzaville, Central African Republic and south of Sanaga river in Cameroon, and Cross river gorillas (Gorilla gorilla diehli) living on the Cameroon-Nigeria border. The Ebo Forest gorilla taxonomy is not know yet and genetic studies are in progress in order to determine to which subspecies they belong.
A special attention is given to the sensitization and the education of the 19 local communities living on the edge of the Ebo Forest. The program established the Club des Amis des Gorilles (Gorilla Guardian Club) responsible for raising awareness among students, hunters and traditional authorities., in order to involve all the local stakeholders in the conservation of their forest and their wildlife.
Photo credit: D. Mfossa Mbouombouo/Ebo Forest Research Project.