Cross River Gorilla
The cross river gorilla is one of two subspecies of western gorilla (the other being the more numerous western lowland gorilla) found in the jungles on the African continent. The cross river gorilla is now incredibly rare in the wild and there are just a handful of cross river gorilla individuals thought to be in just 11 locations.The cross river gorilla is found inhabiting the tropical jungles and forests of western and central Africa, along with lowland swamps and secondary forests. The cross river gorilla is generally found on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon, where less than 300 individuals are estimated to be inhabiting the forests.
There are two separate sub-species of western gorilla which are the western lowland gorilla and the cross river gorilla. Although only slightly different in appearance, the two western gorilla species are distinguished by their differing skull and tooth sizes, and the western lowland gorilla is also more common than the cross river gorilla with nearly 100,000 individuals thought to be left in the wild (it is however still at critically endangered species).
The cross river gorilla is one of the great apes, a group that includes orang-utans, gorillas, humans and chimpanzees. As with the other great apes, the cross river gorilla has a number of features which makes living in the jungle a bit easier, including having opposable thumbs which come in handy when the cross river gorilla is peeling fruit. The cross river gorilla is an omnivorous animal, but the majority of it’s diet is made up of eating fruit which the cross river gorilla is known to travel vast distances through the forests to find. The cross river gorilla also eats leaves, nuts and berries, along with insects and occasionally small animals such as lizards and rodents. The cross river gorilla has also been observed using basic tools in the wild in order to more effectively gather food.
Due to it’s large size, the cross river gorilla has few real predators in it’s native African forests, with large cats such as leopards and the odd crocodile being the only real natural threat to the cross river gorilla. The biggest threat to the cross river gorilla is habitat loss caused by deforestation. Parts of the cross river gorilla’s territory have also been taken over by civil unrest in recent years, which, along with poaching, has had a truly devastating affect on wild populations. The cross river gorilla tends to live in groups which are led and protected by the alpha male. The alpha male cross river gorilla also mates with the females in his group, producing generally single offspring, known as babies. The cross river gorilla babies remain with their mother until they are a few years old and become independent.
Today, the cross river gorilla is a critically endangered species with an estimated wild population of just 280 individuals. Habitat loss and hunting by humans for their meat, has led to the cross river gorilla now being considered one of the 25 most endangered animals on the surface of the planet.