Wildlife Conservation Society researchers have captured video footage of the world’s rarest gorilla using camera traps, providing a stunning look at animals that usually flee at the first sight of humans.
Eight Cross River gorillas traveling across a forest path were filmed by one of four video camera traps researchers set in Cameroon’s Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary. A combination of habitat destruction and hunting has reduced the species’ total population to less than 250, making it the world’s rarest gorilla.
Christopher Jameson, who directs WCS’s Takamanda Mone Landscape Project, said the video “represents the best images to date of Cross River gorillas.”
“The footage provides us with our first tantalizing glimpses of Cross River gorillas behaving normally in their environment,” Jameson said in a statement. “A person can study these animals for years and never even catch a glimpse of the gorillas, much less see anything like this.”
The government of Cameroon created the sanctuary in 2008, with support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in an effort to protect the remaining Cross River gorillas. Fish and Wildlife — along with the groups Pro Wildlife, Berggorilla and World Wide Fund for Nature — joined WCS in paying for the camera traps and other monitoring equipment.