Lowland GorillaWith help from the Wildlife Conservation Society, a population of 600 lowland gorillas will find protection within the borders of a new National Park in Cameroon.

The designated area, to be called Deng Deng National Park, is approximately 224 square miles in size, which is roughly the size of Chicago’s city limits.

Deng Deng is the second National Park created by the Cameroonian government in the last three months, and is the latest in swift actions taken to help protect the country’s abundant but threatened wildlife. Aside from the gorillas, the park will also shield a rich population of chimpanzees, elephants, buffaloes and bongos.

Before these latest conservation efforts, Cameroon has had difficulty maintaining its status as a member nation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The country has one of the highest rates of deforestation in Africa, clearing around 220,000 hectares of forest a year, which has also fueled a steady bushmeat trade.

Just three months ago, Cameroon also formed the trans-boundary Takamanda National Park, which shares its border with Nigeria’s Cross River National Park, home to some of the most endangered apes in the world. Meanwhile, Deng Deng National Park is home to the world’s most northern population of western lowland gorillas.

Although western lowland gorillas are the most populous of the four subspecies of gorilla, all gorillas are listed as either “critically endangered” or “endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

This good news for gorillas is coupled with recent efforts by The Cameroon Ministry of Forest and Wildlife to collaborate with the Wildlife Conservation Society to finally begin enforcing restrictions that ban the transportation of bushmeat to urban markets.

Image Credit: TXZeiss on Flickr under a Creative Commons License