Watch the First-Ever Video of Cameroon’s Ebo Forest Gorillas

The elusive apes were originally discovered in 2002, and only 25 remain.
Feb 28, 2016·
Taylor Hill is an associate editor at TakePart covering environment and wildlife.

A rarely seen population of western gorillas in Cameroon’s Ebo forest has finally been captured on camera.

The footage comes from conservationists at San Diego Zoo Global’s forest research project, who placed camera traps to capture video of the isolated western gorilla troop in its natural habitat.

“These gorillas are one of the most endangered remaining populations of gorillas in Africa, with less than 25 individuals remaining,” said Bethan Morgan, head of the Central Africa Program for San Diego Zoo Global. “Since they live in forest isolated from both Cross River gorillas and western lowland gorillas, they are a unique population and need urgent conservation attention.”

Morgan was part of the research team that first observed the troop in 2002. Until then, the only indications of the gorillas in the Ebo forest were nests. The tiny population is isolated, with the closest gorilla groups more than 60 miles away.

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The Ebo forest is a 700-square-mile biodiversity “hot spot” located between the Cross River in Nigeria and the Sanaga River in Cameroon. The rugged terrain has left much of the region untouched by human development and a safe haven to critically endangered animals, such as Preuss’ red colobus.

In 2003, soon after the discovery of the gorillas, the government of Cameroon designated the Ebo forest as a “proposed protected area.” But it has not granted final protection for the forest.

“We are trying hard to protect these amazing animals,” Ekwoge Abwe, program manager for San Diego Zoo Global’s forest research project, said in a statement. “We hope this footage will compel the government of Cameroon to reclassify the Ebo forest as a national park, as has been their intention since 2003, soon after we first observed the gorillas.”