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WCS-ABCG Event: Cross River Gorillas--back from the edge of extinction

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 18, 2015 03:16 PM
This presentation focuses on the partnership between the Wildlife Conservation Society, the North Carolina Zoo and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and describes their collective conservation achievements in Nigeria and Cameroon over the past ten years.
When Jan 28, 2015
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
Contact Name Jocelyn Ziemian
Contact Phone 240-495-4688
Attendees Inaoyom Imong
Andrew Fowler
Richard Bergl
Dirck Byler
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Please join the Wildlife Conservation Society, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, North Carolina Zoo and ABCG for a brown bag talk featuring:

  • Inaoyom Imong, WCS Nigeria Program
  • Andrew Fowler, WCS Cameroon Program
  • Richard Bergl, NC Zoo
  • Dirck Byler, USFWS

About the Presentation:
The Cross River gorilla is the most threatened African ape, found only in a small mountainous area on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. Ten years ago the species was considered by many to be on the brink of extinction.  But concerted effort across Nigeria and Cameroon has dramatically improved the conservation status of the species, although it is still classified by IUCN as critically endangered.  New protected areas have been created and new approaches to involve local communities in conservation efforts have been developed.  Although threats remain, the long-term survival prospects for the Cross River gorilla are increasingly positive.

About the Speakers:

Inaoyom Imong has a MSc in Conservation Biology from the A. P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute, University of Jos, Nigeria.  With a WCS Graduate Scholarship he is currently completing his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, focusing on the spatial ecology and conservation of the Cross River gorilla. He is a member of the Scientific Commission of the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) and the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group. He joined WCS in 2004, and in 2013 he received the GRASP-Ian Redmond Conservation Award.

Dr. Andrew Fowler has completed more than 15 years of field-based research and conservation work in West and Central Africa.  He completed his PhD studies in Primatology and Evolutionary Anthropology at University College London, with field work on the socio-ecology of chimpanzees in Gashaka Gumti National Park, Nigeria. This was followed by post-doctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. His main research topics were the self-medicative plant use and meat-eating behavior of bonobos at LuiKotale, near Salonga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2011, Andrew began working with the African Wildlife Foundation as the ecologist for the Maringa-Lopori-Wamba project in DR Congo. His main responsibilities were running field operations in two Protected Areas, and establishing and coordinating the bio-monitoring of large mammals within the landscape. Andrew joined the Wildlife Conservation Society in September 2013 as Director of the Takamanda-Mone Landscape Project, based in Limbe, Cameroon. He is a member of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group.

Dr. Rich Bergl directs the Conservation and Research program at the North Carolina Zoological Park and has been involved with wildlife conservation and research in Africa for over a decade.  Much of his work has focused on the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli) the most endangered of the four gorilla subspecies.  He has worked in Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Liberia, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Kenya on topics ranging from primate behavior to population genetics to protected area management.  He is one of the founding members of the SMART Partnership and is currently involved with implementing SMART for conservation law enforcement monitoring at several sites in Africa.  Dr. Bergl is a member of the Executive Committee of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group great ape sub-section, serves on the conservation committees of the International Primatological Society, the American Society of Primatologists and is a Conservation Fellow at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Dirck Byler is a Program Officer for the Africa Branch of the Division of International Conservation at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  He directs the Great Ape Conservation program at the USFWS as well as its other grant programs in West and Central Africa.  Also as part of the USFWS, he has worked for the National Wildlife Refuge System in the Division of Conservation Planning and Policy providing national-level support in conservation planning and policy analysis.  Prior to joining the Service in 2003, Dirck worked as a Senior Director in Conservation International's Africa programs, focusing much of his time on West Africa.  While at CI, Dirck also led the conservation priority setting team at CI's Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, providing scientific and technical support for landscape scale conservation planning.  From 1993-1995, Dirck worked in Lesotho as an adviser to the Ministry of Education and World Food Program to administer a program of technical assistance in agriculture, environmental management, soil science, poultry production, and micro-project management.  Dirck has also held positions with the Department of State, The Nature Conservancy, Yellowwood State Forest, and Indiana University.  Dirck graduated from the School of Public and Environment at Indiana University with an MSES in Environmental Science and a MPA in Public Affairs.

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