Cross River Gorilla

The Cross River Gorilla

The Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli) is a critically endangered subspecies of the western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla). The cross river gorilla was named a new species in 1904 by Paul Matschie, a mammalian taxonomist working at the Humboldt University Zoological Museum in Berlin, but its populations were not methodically surveyed until 1987. The cross river gorilla and the western lowland gorilla are the two subspecies that belong to the western gorilla specie.

This subspecies of the western gorilla is closely alike in look to the most western lowland gorilla, but subtle variances can be found in the skull and tooth magnitudes. Cross River gorillas live in an area populated by many people who have trespassed upon the gorilla’s territory. Clearing woodlands for timber and to create fields for farming and livestock. Poaching happens in the jungles as well, and the loss of even a few of these gorillas has a damaging consequence on such a small populace.

Efforts to safeguard these faunas are concentrated on securing the forests that house them. World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature and partners are working closely with the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria to create a threatened areas for the Cross River gorilla that live across the border of the two countries.

Description of Cross River Gorilla

The Cross River gorilla was first described as a new species of the western gorilla by Paul Matschie, a mammalian taxonomist, in 1904. The morphological uniqueness of the Crioss River gorilla was confirmed in 1987. Successive studies of cranial and tooth morphology, long bone magnitudes and spreading demonstrated the singularity of the Cross River gorilla and it was labelled as a distinctive subspecies in the year 2000.

Comparing the Cross River gorilla to western lowland gorillas, both markedly have smaller palates, smaller cranial cupolas and shorter skulls. In terms of body size or limb and bone length, the Cross River gorilla is not identified to be much different from western lowland gorillas. Though, dimensions taken from a male propose that they have shorter hands and feet and have a bigger opposability index than their close associates, western lowland gorillas.

According to Sarmiento and Oate’s learning put out by the American Museum of Natural History, the Cross River gorilla has been defined as having smaller dentition, smaller palates, smaller cranial vaults, and shorter skulls than western lowland gorillas. The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences illustrated the Cross River gorilla as the biggest existing primate with a barrel-chest, moderately even hair, a bare black face and chest, small ears, bare shaped brows that are combined, and nostril precincts that are raised up. These gorillas are evidently not the largest and the distinctiveness of their exterior characters still needs to be certified. Other statistics include:

  • Average adult male height: 165–175 cm (5 feet 5 in – 5 feet 9 in)
  • Average adult male weight: 140–200 kg (310–440 lb)
  • Average adult female height: 140 cm (4 feet 7 in)
  • Average adult female weight: 100 kg (220 lb)

Evolution of the Cross River Gorilla

In 2000 Esteban E. Sarmiento and John F. Oates suggested and supported the theory that the Cross River gorilla started to develop into a different subspecies of Gorilla gorilla in the course of an water less period of the African Pleistocene phase in reaction to diminishing food sources and a greater emphasis on herbivore and native conducts.

The team specified that ancestors to the Cross River gorilla may have been isolated to the jungles proximate to the Cross River headwaters or in a different place in the Cameroon moorlands. They inscribed that the Cross River gorillas may not have spread much since their seclusion. The Gorilla gorilla gorilla descendants distinguished from the Cross River gorilla by dispersal beyond this region anyplace to the south and east of the Sanaga. Sarmiento and Oates stated lack of evidence to suggest that G. g. gorilla and G. g. diehli are sympatric.


Like many other gorilla categories, the Cross River gorilla craves for a dense forest environment that is not inhabited by people. Because of their body size, they need huge and diverse areas of the forest to meet their habitation necessities. Related to most primates in danger of extinction, the natural habitats of the cross river gorillas are where people are regularly reside and use natural resources. The timberland populated by the Cross River gorilla differ in elevation from around 100 to 2,037 metres (328 to 6,683 feet). The years between 1996 and 1999, some field work was piloted on Afi Mountain in Cross River State in Nigeria for a duration of 2 years and 8 months. During this study, a great deal of data were collected where things like habitat types and topography got mapped using line transects, climate, spatial and temporal attainability of tree and herb foods and also the gorilla’s wide range behavior, diet plus its grouping configurations. The data was all evaluated from indirect evidence like the feeding trails, nests and feces.

The territories of the Cross River gorilla are destructively affected by the severe deforestation and division of the land. These disastrous actions leave the gorilla species with few choices for endurance. Due to deforestation and destruction, there are far-reaching drops in carrying capability, in other words, the size of the places these animals inhabit has been expressively abridged. With high human populations in area, the amount of resources available for the Cross River gorillas is restricted. Although this diminution in the availability of land may be a problem, research studies have concluded that a satisfactory suitable expanse of tropical rain forest still remains and comfortable for this gorilla subspecies. If, though, human pressures and deforestation continue, these places will continue to shrink and eventually will not exist anymore. Supplementary examples of human activity that threaten Cross River gorillas and other species, are hunting, logging, agriculture, firewood harvesting, clearance of lands for plantation and exploitation of natural resources. Gorillas and other primates are only a lesser part of the larger bionetwork and consequently, they depend on many facets of their environment for subsistence. In addition, also due to their body size, they lack ability to acclimatize to new atmosphere and have a somewhat slow multiplicative speed. Even though there is somewhat a limited study on Cross River gorillas, there is sufficient information to come to conclusion that these animals are at present able to withstand survival. What is debatetable is the total number of Cross River gorillas that exist today.