Takamanda National Park, Cameroon (AHN) – A new 261-square-mile park created to protect Africa’s endangered Cross River gorilla has opened.

Takamanda National Park in Cameroon now forms part of a trans-boundary protected area with Nigeria’s Cross River National Park.

Some 115 Cross River gorillas, one third of the population, live within the protected area, along with forest elephants, chimpanzees, and drills-another rare primate and a close relative of the better-known mandril.

The new national park was a collaborative effort by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Government of Cameroon, and others.

“The Government of Cameroon is to be commended for taking this step in saving the Cross River gorilla for future generations,” Dr. Steven E. Sanderson, President and CEO of WCS said in a statement. “By forming this national park, Cameroon sends a powerful message about the importance of conservation.”

Among the threats to Cross River gorillas are habitat destruction and hunting represent the biggest threats to Cross River gorillas. Habitat destruction comes through the fragmentation of the gorilla’s living areas caused by farming, road-building and pastoralists burning the forests.

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