One of the most amazing things about life on our planet is the staggering diversity of its plants and animal species. The fact that there are tons of living organisms out there that most of us have never seen is fascinating, and when the rarest of the rare are captured on video, it's a truly remarkable sight.
For the first time ever, cameras have caught the extremely rare Cross River Gorilla. When I say rare I mean rare. There are fewer than 250 of them in existence.
The footage was captured by conservationists who set up trap cameras in the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary in Cameroon.
Christopher Jameson, Director of the World Conservation Society’s Takamanda Mone Landscape Project, said, “The video represents the best images to date of Cross River gorillas, normally shy animals that flee at the slightest hint of human presence. The footage provides us with our first tantalizing glimpses of Cross River gorillas behaving normally in their environment. A person can study these animals for years and never even catch a glimpse of the gorillas, much less see anything like this.”
The entire video is fascinating given the context, but we're really treated to an amazing display of the animal when a large male silverback streaks across the screen at about 1:12. You'll hear the incredible sound of his chest-pounding, which on first listen appears to be fake - an added effect. According to the WCS, check out a gorilla that appears just a few seconds after that, who displays a missing hand. They say that this indicates the presence of snares within the area.
Estimates indicate that the 250 Cross River gorillas alive today area spread around 9-11 location on the Nigeria-Cameroon border. They are "critically endangered," being one the world's 25 most-endangered primates.
Besides the simple fact that such footage is amazing, the video could have another plus, according to WCS Africa program director James Deutsch:
"Spectacular footage such as this, which we’ve never had before for Cross River gorillas, is absolutely vital to inspire local people, the governments of Nigeria and Cameroon, and the global community to care about and to save this unique subspecies,” he said.