Washington, December 17 (ANI): The world's rarest and most camera shy great ape has finally been captured on professional video on a forested mountain in Cameroon.
With the assistance of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Cameroon Program, a film crew from the Hamburg-based NDR Naturfilm managed to video the elusive Cross River gorilla earlier this year in a stand of montane trees after weeks of effort in the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary.
"These gorillas are extremely wary of humans and are very difficult to photograph or film," said Dr. Roger Fotso, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Cameroon Program.
"Eventually, we identified and staked out some of the gorillas favorite fig trees, which is where we finally achieved our goal," he added.
"It's unbelievable that one great ape subspecies has never been filmed for TV so far," said Jorn Rover, Head of NDR Naturfilm.
"We hope that our international production helps to raise awareness for these magnificent creatures and the work of the WCS," he added.
The only previous footage available of the rare apes was taken from a long distance with a shaky, hand-held camera in 2005 by a field researcher.
Due to the steep mountain terrain, tracking gorillas in Kagwene is time-consuming and sometimes treacherous.
Through the years, WCS researchers have developed an effective non-invasive monitoring system aimed at keeping track of the gorillas without disturbing them or getting them used to human presence.
After weeks with WCS's assistance, the crew finally filmed several minutes of two gorillas feeding on figs some 30-40 feet above the forest floor.
"These extraordinary images are vital for the fight to save the world's least known and rarest ape as well as the mountain rainforest on which they depend," said Dr. James Deutsch, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Africa Program.
"Over the past twenty years, local communities, the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria, funders, and committed conservationists have laid the foundation for a great conservation success story. We hope these pictures will introduce to the world the lead players in this story, the Cross River gorillas themselves," he added. (ANI)