We are thrilled to report that the ‘Clubs des Amis des Gorilles’ (Gorilla Guardian Clubs) programme, led by 2013 Whitley Award winner Ekwoge Abwe, has had a recent breakthrough! For the first time since the project began, gorillas have been photographed and filmed using camera traps in Ebo Forest, Cameroon. This is the first time they have ever been caught on camera.
This forest is currently unprotected and yet shelters 11 diurnal primate species, including the Endangered Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee and a very small population of gorillas, which are thought to be a new subspecies, although this is yet to be confirmed.
Watch this video of a pregnant female gorilla spotting the camera trap!
The ‘Clubs des Amis des Gorilles’ programme is part of the Ebo Forest Research Project and is a community-led conservation initiative that actively involves the local communities in monitoring and conserving gorillas and other large mammals. Bushmeat hunting and trade has been the main source of income for the surrounding villages and is currently the biggest threat to the local gorilla population. Through the development of alternative income sources and a growing understanding of the value of preserving wildlife, Ekwoge and his team are turning the tide on the need for hunting in these areas.
One of the wider project aims is to legally secure the future of the remaining gorillas, chimpanzees and other endangered species. The project has three permanent research stations within the forest to survey and monitor the gorillas and chimpanzees, collecting data on their movements and recording evidence of hunting. The information researchers collect is vitally important when lobbying the Government of Cameroon to declare this area a National Park and legally protect the forest. Ekwoge continues to push for this goal to be achieved.