Conservationists have devised a five-year, $10 million plan to save the world's most endangered subspecies of gorilla -- the Cross River gorilla, a population that is now down to just 300 individuals. The plan is aimed at protecting the remaining animals it from poachers who hunt them for bushmeat and habitat loss.
The Cross River gorilla, a critically endangered subspecies of the Western Gorilla, lives in a hilly rainforest area along the Nigeria-Cameroon border, on an area that is only about 7,456 square miles. The species is known for its intelligence, and this population has been repeatedly observed using tools. But because much of their habitat is being turned over to farmland, they have seen declines in recent years.
"With such a small population, the loss of even a few individuals each year represents a very serious threat to their long-term survival," the report reads.
The plan, which will extend until 2019, calls for more research into the gorillas' distribution, local conservation efforts, better disease monitoring, developing ecotourism and and protecting habitat corridors. The conservationists remain hopeful that the species will recover, with the help of this plan.
"The outlook for the Cross River gorilla is encouraging, provided we build on past successes and continue with key partnerships to protect this great ape and its remaining habitat," said Andrew Dunn, lead author of the report.