Camera trap images reveal Nigeria’s tiny wildlife sanctuary is a haven for rare primates and other wildlife

Newswise – CALABAR, Nigeria (July 13, 2021) – The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Nigeria Program released a series of camera trap images from the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary in Nigeria, revealing an array of primates and other wildlife that inhabit this 100 square kilometer protected area. (38.6 square miles) which is smaller than the city of Paris.

The images show Cross River gorillas (Gorilla diehli gorilla) – the rarest gorilla subspecies on the planet with a total population of perhaps 300 individuals – along with the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes ellioti), drills (Mandrillus leucophaeus) and the Red River pigs (Potamochoerus pork).

Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary was established by the Cross River State Government in 2000 to protect Cross River gorillas and other endangered species. He is currently protected by 13 community guards – one from each of the 13 communities surrounding the shrine – employed by the WCS Nigeria program. Rangers patrol the sanctuary to discourage hunting, and last year alone they removed 2,405 metal snares.

Although these snares are set for small game such as porcupines, hyraxes and grasscutters, they can also trap young gorillas and therefore pose a serious threat to the recovery of the species.

Logging and illegal farms are also a major problem in Afi, especially in the surrounding lowlands. In addition to ranger patrols, WCS is also working with cocoa farmers around the sanctuary to improve the sustainability of current farming practices and reduce rates of forest loss by making existing cocoa plantations more productive. WCS’s conservation education awareness program is based on support for school conservation clubs and a weekly radio drama, and aims to gradually change behavior and attitudes towards wildlife.

Dr Inaoyom Imong, Director of Cross River Landscape, WCS Nigeria, said: “While the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary still faces challenges, these camera trap images give us hope and bear witness to the fact. that our conservation efforts are working. “

WCS work at Afi is funded by the Great Ape Conservation Fund of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Kolmården Zoo, AZA, New England Zoo, North Carolina Zoo, Dutch Gorilla Foundation and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).

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WCS (Society for the Conservation of Wildlife)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places around the world through science, conservation, education and inspiring people to value nature. To accomplish our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its global conservation program in nearly 60 countries and all of the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people each. year. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos and the aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.


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Betty T. Simpson

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