For the first time in years, the wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has captured images of group of rare gorillas with multiple infants in the mountains of southern Nigeria.
The pictures were captured by camera traps in the Mbe mountains.
According to conservationists, Only 300 Cross River gorillas are known to live in the wild, making them the most endangered sub-species.
But the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) says this sighting raises hopes that the animals at risk of extinction are actually reproducing.
The WCS announced Wednesday that it “has released the first-known camera trap images of a group of Cross River gorillas with a number of infants of different ages.”
“These recent images are the first time that multiple infants have been recorded in the same group,” WCS said.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Cross River gorillas are naturally wary of humans and live in mountainous areas and that’s why they are rarely seen.
The rare gorillas have subtle distinctions from other species – such as smaller heads, longer arms and lighter-coloured hair.
In a statement, Inaoyom Imong, director of Cross River Landscape for Wildlife Conservation Society Nigeria said that the latest sighting is proof that Cross River gorillas are “well protected and reproducing and populations are recovering as a result of field-based protection efforts.”
The WCS says it is working closely with a community organisation, the Conservation Association of the Mbe Mountains, as well as authorities in Nigeria’s Cross River state to protect the primates.