La Palmyre renews its support to Cross river gorilla conservation in Nigeria

Cross river gorillas (Gorilla gorilla diehli) are the most endangered great apes, with less then 300 individuals left in the wild. The species lives on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon and is threatened by poaching and habitat loss.
 
WCS (Widlife Conservation Society) has been protecting Cross river gorillas in Cameroon and Nigeria for more than 15 years. La Palmyre Zoo has helped finance the WCS conservation activities in Nigeria since 2009.
 
Last year, 158 anti-poaching patrols were completed by the eco-guard team in the Mbe Mountains Wildlife Sanctuary. They spent 830 days on patrol covering a distance of 4,772km (against 475 days and 2,494km in 2012). 127 snares and one hunting camp were discovered and destroyed (against 615 snares and 8 hunting camps in 2012). These anti-poaching patrols significantly further reduce the hunting pressure on wildlife's sanctuary. It's worth noting that hunting is much higher in adjacent sites owned and managed by the government.


 
During their routine monitoring patrols, the eco-guards observed the gorillas on 22 occasions and found 80 nest sites. Four motorcycles were purchased with funds from La Palmyre, making it easier for eco-guards to travel. At the end of last year, the eco-guards also completed basic training in field ranger skills (drill, patrol techniques, self-defense).


 
The community-based approach to law enforcement is working well and Mbe Mountains Wildlife Sanctuary seems to be better protected than government-managed sites. But with 9 villages and 12,000 people living in the surroundings, human pressure is still very strong and requires conservation activities to be pursued.