First Video of Ebo Gorillas in Cameroon Since Their Discovery in 2002 Confirms Presence of Elusive Apes

San Diego Zoo Global conservationists working with video traps have confirmed the presence of a small troop of western gorillas in Ebo Forest. Although Bethan Morgan, Ph.D., head of the Central Africa Program for San Diego Zoo Global, first observed these gorillas back in 2002, they had never before been captured on camera or video.

“These gorillas are one of the most endangered remaining populations of gorillas in Africa, with less than 25 individuals remaining,” said Morgan. “Since they live in forest isolated from both Cross River gorillas and western lowland gorillas, they are a unique population and need urgent conservation attention.”

San Diego Zoo Global’s Ebo Forest Research Project includes two permanently staffed research stations, as well as community outreach programs to inspire people to
protect their forest and its creatures. One important program for gorilla conservation is the Clubs des Amis des Gorilles (Gorilla Guardian Clubs), a network of community-run clubs near the gorillas’ habitat. These volunteer guardians, with the support and training of San Diego Zoo Global conservationists, monitor the gorillas’ activities and note any threats to them.

“We are trying hard to protect these amazing animals,” said Ekwoge Abwe, program manager for the San Diego Zoo Global Ebo Forest Research Project. “We hope this footage will compel the government of Cameroon to reclassify the Ebo Forest as a national park, as has been their intention since 2003, soon after we first observed the gorillas.”

This footage was gathered as part of San Diego Zoo Global’s Ebo Forest Research Project, which is supported by the Arcus Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Great Ape Conservation Fund, the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation, the Offield Family Foundation, Fundacion Bioparc, and an award to monitoring coordinator Malenoh Ndimbe from the British Ecological Society.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids
network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.