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World's rarest gorillas caught on camera

May 8, 2012 at 4:47 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, May 8 (UPI) -- A video camera trap in Cameroon captured images of the world's rarest gorilla, a notoriously elusive species rarely observed by humans, conservationists say.

The camera trap in Cameroon's Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary has collected the first video footage of the Cross River gorilla, a species with fewer than 250 individuals remaining, the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society reported Tuesday.

In the footage, eight Cross River gorillas can be seen making their way along a forest path.

"This video gives us all a spectacular view into the hidden world of one of our closest relatives, which is in dire need of our help to survive," Steve Sanderson, WCS President and CEO, said.

The government of Cameroon established the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary in 2008 for the sole purpose of protecting the Cross River gorilla, whose range is limited to the remote forested mountainous terrain on the border region of Nigeria and Cameroon.

The camera trap has provided researchers with a rare look at the species, WCS officials said.

"The video represents the best images to date of Cross River gorillas, normally shy animals that flee at the slightest hint of human presence," WCS officer Christopher Jameson said.

"The footage provides us with our first tantalizing glimpses of Cross River gorillas behaving normally in their environment. A person can study these animals for years and never even catch a glimpse of the gorillas, much less see anything like this."

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