The great apes of western Africa face many threats, from habitat
destruction to disease. But tucked within central Cameroon
relatively small pocket of forest, where gorillas can more or less just
be gorillas: Deng Deng National Park.
WCS scientists have been
surveying the area since 2002, and a recent WCS census found a healthy
population of 300 to 500 western lowland gorillas
living within the
reserve’s 224 square miles and in an adjacent logging concession. The
group represents the world’s northernmost population of these gorillas.
living in relative harmony, the gorillas did not line up neatly to be
counted. Instead, WCS researchers tallied up the apes’ nests to estimate
their populations. The census found that the gorillas move freely
between the park and the logging area, along with many of their
, forest elephants
, buffaloes, and bongo.
Unfortunately, a road runs through the two areas, paving the way to poaching threats from outside.
this gorilla population, and guaranteeing its future,” said James
Deutsch, director of WCS-Africa, “absolutely requires protecting the
gorillas in the logging concession as well as in the park.”
created Deng Deng National Park in 2010. The density of gorillas found
within the park rival those of Gabon's
Lopé National Park and Congo's
Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park
, two places that are famous for their apes.
Part of the reason Deng Deng is so special is that the gorillas that
live there are isolated from others of their kind. This would help
shield them in the event of an Ebola outbreak
, which has occurred in
other regions to the south.
“For a small area, this is an
extremely important site for gorilla conservation,” said Roger Fotso,
director of WCS-Cameroon. “It is also important because this is the
northern-most population of western lowland gorillas, and because it is
accessible to the capital Yaoundé and so a possible future site for