In a united front against the looming threat to the critically endangered Cross River gorillas, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and Wilder Institute have emerged as stalwart defenders, committing over N8 million in cutting-edge equipment.
According to punchng.com, they donated cameras, computers, and other tech that will go to Cross River National Park, the State Forestry Commission, and the University of Calabar.
“The Cross River gorilla is a critically endangered subspecies that needs to be protected,” said Dr. Brenda Akpan, a Wilder Institute advisor, in a statement from NCF on Monday.
According to the statement, experts estimate only about 300 Cross River gorillas remain in the wild along the Nigeria-Cameroon border.
The new Cross River Gorilla Initiative includes scholarships for one Ph.D. student and four master’s students at the University of Calabar over five years.
“The programme will enable the researchers to have practical hands-on experience in the use of field equipment such as camera traps, GPS handsets, drones etc. in data collection and monitoring,” the NCF statement said.
Akpan said it will also allow for establishing contact and familiarising themselves with the project community and project locations through field visits to ensure a smooth take-off during their field research work.
She added that the programme will highlight “the role of gender in forest resource management with reference to gorilla conservation.”
The NCF said it “continues to work with its partners to mobilise stakeholders and muster support to preserve the remaining population and their habitat to prevent the extinction of the gorilla in Nigeria.”