Cross River Gorillas – Facts, Where they are found, How to trek, Diet and more Characteristics
Amazing facts about Cross River gorillas: They are a sub-species of the Western gorilla species living in the mountainous area of Nigeria and Cameroon. The Cross River (Gorilla gorilla diehli) and they were named the Cross River gorilla in 1904 by Paul Matschie.
The Cross River gorilla has brownish-grey/black fur but with no fur on the feet, face or hands. These amazing apes feature cone-shaped heads with reddish crest. They are also social in nature living in families or groups of up to 2-20 members. In every Cross River gorilla family, there is a dominant male/silverback with several females, infants.
These gorillas reach sexual maturity at 10 years and females give birth to babies after every 4 years. Like humans, a female Cross River gorilla has a gestation period at 9 months.
Diet of the Cross River gorillas
The Cross River gorillas like other gorilla species are herbivores- they depend on plants, leaves, nuts, berries and more. They are famous to care more about infants and they perform this responsibility till infants reach 3-4 years.
How many Cross River gorillas are left today?
Fewer than 200-300 Cross River gorillas still live on earth today and thrive in Cameroon and Nigeria. These sub-species of gorillas range in an area of 300sq.miles. Scientifically, a Cross River gorilla is called gorilla gorilla diehli, belong to Animalia Kingdom, Mammalia class and order primates.
Compared to most gorillas, a Cross River gorilla is slender with short, light colored hair. They arms are long and have ridgeline that gives a striking contrast to the flat face and large nostrils. They have dark eyes hidden in the fur- usually black and brownish gray.
The Cross-River gorillas do change their resting places during the wet or rainy season- they shift their nests to the top of trees. They spend most of their day feeding like other gorilla sub-species but they also take time to groom each other.
They are generally peaceful and like any wild animal, they can also become aggressive when threatened. They are capable of attacking humans if provoked and they can make best use of available tools such as leaves, tree branches, stones to defend themselves.
The Cross River gorilla habitat
The Cross River gorilla inhabit the most parts of North and Western Africa particularly in Afi Mountains in Nigeria and Mbe Mountains in Cameroon. They also thrive within the Takamanda National Park in Cameroon and in Nigeria’s Cross River National Park.
The Cross River gorillas live in high elevation of 1500-3500m comprising of rainforest and bamboo forests. Just like most living wildlife on earth, the Cross River gorillas equally play a significant part in the ecosystem. But, they remain among the threatened species from other wild animals and humans. Crocodiles plus big cats in the forests are the main predators of these gorillas.
Are Cross River gorillas endangered/threatened?
Humans have also proven as a major threat to these rare primates- first, their habitat is in danger due to deforestation etc. With numerous threats, the Cross River gorillas have been listed among the critically endangered species.
Reproduction, lifespan of the Cross River gorilla
A Cross River gorilla becomes mature sexually at 10 years and give birth to new born once after 4 years. The infants are taken care of by their mothers up to 3-4 years and they have gestation period of 9 months like humans. They have lifespan of up to 35-50 years.
In conclusion, the Cross River gorillas are a few most endangered apes in Africa and undoubtedly unique creatures worth viewing on African safari.