Rare gorillas use weapons to attack forest-intruding humans
December 5, 2007

Following the first documented cases of the Cross River gorillas -- world's most endangered gorilla -- throwing sticks and clumps of grass when threatened by people, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has announced new research to better protect the species from poaching and encroachment.

Native to Nigeria and Cameroon, the population of Cross River gorillas is now down to around 300 individuals due to poaching and habitat destruction for logging, subsistence agriculture, and collection of fuelwood. Next month WCS will begin new field surveys to catalogue all potential gorilla habitat in the region. The initiative comes as part of WCS's Cross River gorilla action plan, which was announced earlier this year.

Wildlife Conservation Society
"Although the situation looks dire for the Cross River gorilla, it is far from hopeless," said Dr. James Deutsch, director of WCS' Africa Program, when the Regional Action Plan for the Conservation of the Cross River Gorilla was announced. "At first glance, the population seems to be fragmented, but we have evidence of occasional migrations between some of the locations, a finding that improves the prospects for saving these gorillas."

The use of weaponry by gorillas was reported in a study published in the Journal of Primatology. Gorillas usually flee when encountered by humans.

The behavior took place in the proposed Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary in Cameroon. Gorillas have also been observed using sticks to measure the depth of a stream prior to crossing

The International Journal of Primatology is offering free online access through the end of 2007

mongabay.com (December 05, 2007).

Rare gorillas use weapons to attack forest-intruding humans.