Critically Endangered Cross River Gorilla Silverback Killed in Cameroon

by Mar 23, 2013Great Apes, Wildlife News14 comments

A male Cross River Gorilla has been shot earlier this month in the Lebialem Highlands near Pinyin in the Santa Sub Division of North West Cameroon.

The presence of this silverback gorilla was reported by a local teacher who was going to her farm very early in the morning on March 1st 2013 at about 1 km away from the village. Pinyin is about 33 km from the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary.

“The killing of this over 40-year silver-back was ordered by the Chief of Gendarmerie Brigade based in Pinyin”, according to Neba Bedes, wildlife expert working for the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), “It was done in the name of ‘self-defense’ without conducting the necessary security checks to determine whether this critically endangered animal is causing any danger to the local people”.

It is alleged that over 45 bullets were used as well as clubs and stones to kill the gorilla, leaving it in a pool of his own blood.

The death of this silverback gorilla remains a very big loss not just to Cameroon and local conservation efforts, but to the conservation world at large. Cross River Gorillas are Africa’s rarest and most threatened ape and it belongs to the world’s 25 most threatened wildlife species. Only about 300 of them survive in the Nigeria-Cameroon border region.

The Regional Delegate for Forestry and Wildlife for the North West Region regretted the loss of this protected human cousin and re-iterated the efforts of her ministry to increase the community sensitization in the border areas of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary.

Since 2004, the African Conservation Foundation has been working together with ERuDeF on the creation of this very important great apes sanctuary, which is home to about 40 Cross River Gorillas and over 150 Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees, as well as a range of other endangered species of fauna and flora.

The presence of the silverback gorilla about 33km away from the proposed sanctuary is proof that the Tofala Gorillas are not isolated and still maintain a genetic connection with other Cross River Gorilla sub populations in South West Cameroon.

Only a very small number of Cross River Gorillas have been sighted in Tofala. The most recent sighting was on 24 February 2013 by the Divisional Officer for Wabane Sub Division in Besali forest on his way to Menji.

The migration of this killed silverback is also proof of the intense human pressure that the remaining gorillas in the Tofala forests are facing. This pressure includes very high forest conversion to farms and poaching.

ERuDeF, the African Conservation Foundation and their partners are thus urging the Government of Cameroon to speed up the Process to complete the creation of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and the other proposed sites in the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex.

How can you help?
1.Please sign the petition at Avaaz or Care2’s Petition Site. Your signatures will go to the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife and Prime Minister of Cameroon

2. Donate now to help save the critical endangered Cross River Gorillas, which are under great pressure. With your support, we can speed up the process to establish 3 new gorilla reserves and intensify community education and anti-poaching surveys.

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  1. Christian Bollier

    How humans can use ” over 45 bullets as well as clubs and stones to kill this gorilla, leaving it in a pool of his own blood” ?!?

  2. Robyn O'Malley

    Yeah, why so much attacking, I think one bullet would have been enough. Who’s the animal here??? Not the gorilla it turns out. The human race, is a bloody disgrace.

  3. Tucker



  4. shanez

    can you set up a petition so I can sign share it too please. This is evil and down right unnecessary.

  5. Torjia Sahr Karimu

    What a monumental shame!

  6. Antje Göttert

    Assholes-nothing more! They do not deserve to live in this beautiful world!

  7. Dr. Edem A. Eniang

    Now that the Gorilla is gone, may I recommend that the remains be taken to a reputable musuem of Natural history eg African Museum in Tevuren, Belgium or somewhere in South Africa where it could be preserved in perpetuity for all the benefits that can come from such collections eg, Research, Education Awareness creation towards the conservation of the remaining populations. That way the victim would’nt have died in vain.


    ammazza che pezzi de merda
    perchè uccidere un gorilla cosi ?
    cosa ha commesso di per avere tanta violenza ?
    maledettissimi chi è stato per dio !!!

  9. Nancie Barnett

    quid pro quo to those responsible

  10. Lucia

    I am crying when reading this article. This is sick. Who gave a human the power to kill innocent animals?

  11. Nick

    Can we please start an aerial spraying program for humans?

  12. Ngesang

    The shame should go to the Cameroon government for not protecting it’s touristic assets. The indigenous population ought to be educated about the importance of wildlife and conservation; and it is the responsibility of the state to sensitize the population around this wildlife environs.

    There is a lot of poaching in Cameroon on many endangered species not only on a rare gorilla of this kind but on elephants,….unlike other African countries .
    It is high time WWF meet with this government to discuss avenues through which all the areas that duly deserve conservation should be covered and maintained adequately . Regional development should be a priority of the state, but sorry, I don’t think the governance of this state sees it that way.

    Educate the masses,improve on the animal sanctuaries by providing adequate resources and bringing all the stakeholders together to discuss what has to be done will help curb this problem

  13. Nkam Ngesang

    Please! Let’s together safe all the endanger species around the world.

  14. Stephen Powell

    A crime against nature. I have had the pleasure of visiting gorillas in Rwanda. Gentle creatures.