Radio show helps save critically endangered gorillas in Nigeria
- Community-based conservation measures are essential to protect the Cross River Gorilla, and a radio show reaching up to 4 million listeners in Nigeria is encouraging local community members to become active participants in conservation.
- In today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we chat with Hillary Chukwuemeka, host of the radio show called “My Gorilla My Community”. Chukwuemeka explains why radio is an effective medium for community engagement in Nigeria and the impacts he has seen from time spent in local communities on the front lines of conservation.
- We are also joined by Inaoyom Imong, Program Director for the Cross River Landscape with the Wildlife Conservation Society Nigeria and a member of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group, who discusses the main threats to Cross River gorillas, the main barriers to their conservation and why community conservation measures are so important in this context.
Today we take a look at efforts to protect the Cross River Gorilla, one of the rarest great ape subspecies in the world, which features a radio show broadcast to nearly 4 million Nigerians that helps fill the gaps in attitudes and knowledge that lead to human behavior. threatening the survival of gorillas.
The Cross River gorilla is a subspecies of the critically endangered western gorilla (gorilla gorilla) found only in the remote upland forests of the Nigeria-Cameroon border. It is believed that only around 300 individual Cross River gorillas remain in the wild – which is why it is known as one of the rarest great ape subspecies in the world.
There are federal and state laws in Nigeria that aim to protect great apes, but enforcement of these laws is lacking. And as the human population grows, Cross River gorillas are under increasing pressure. Human activities such as conversion of gorilla forest habitat to agricultural land, commercial logging and construction of new roads lead to habitat loss and fragmentation. The bushmeat trade is another notable threat to gorilla survival – and thanks to new roads the government is building to connect remote areas of the country, even the most isolated forests are no longer great ape havens. .
We are joined today by Hillary Chukwuemeka, host of a radio show called “My Gorilla My Community” which is broadcast to many communities on the front line of gorilla conservation in Nigeria and encourages them to become active participants in protection of the subspecies. Chukwuemeka explains why his radio show is an effective means of community engagement and the impacts he has seen from time spent in local communities.
We also chat with Inaoyom Imong, Program Director for the Cross River Landscape with Wildlife Conservation Society Nigeria and member of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group. Inaoyom discusses the main threats to Cross River gorillas, the main obstacles to their conservation and why community conservation measures are so important in this context.
Here are some recent articles from Mongabay referenced in this episode of the Mongabay Newscast:
• Radio Gorilla: Send a conservation message to Nigeria, 02/06/19
• For the rarest gorillas in the world, a troubled sanctuary, 07/13/20
• Camera sees a troop of the world’s rarest gorilla for the first time, 07/10/20
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