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AFC Flag Expedition #6:
Cross River Gorillas - The Most Endangered Primate
Expedition Artist: Daniel Taylor
Purpose: To observe the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla in its remaining habitat, conduct the first artistic field study of the primate in the wild and support conservation efforts through fundraising and education.
Location: Lebialem Highlands, South West Cameroon
Scheduled For: November 2007
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Taylor will undertake a 5-week Artists for Conservation Flag Expedition to Western Cameroon in order to raise funds and awareness for the conservation of the Cross River Gorilla, which is at very high risk of becoming extinct in the near future.  His goal is to participate in field surveys in the rainforest and visit sanctuaries for detailed field study, sketching and photographing the Cross River Gorilla and its habitat, as well as consulting with professional field workers, biologists and conservationists.  He will be working in partnership with the African Conservation Foundation.

The Cross River Gorilla remains the most endangered primate in Africa with 250-300 individuals left in the wild. Cross River Gorillas differ from other gorillas in the size of their head, their small thumb, and their red crest. The name of these primates is derived from the Cross River that rises in several branches in the highlands of Western Cameroon. Thanks to the remoteness of this impenetrable biodiversity hotspot, small isolated populations have survived in the highlands and are now discovered and studied by local conservationists.  The Cross River gorilla has never been painted before.

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Key objectives of the Flag Expedition include:
  • Observe the behavior of Cross River Gorillas and conduct a detailed artistic study in Limbe Wildlife Center in Cameroon.
  • Make sketches and take photographs of endangered wildlife species and habitats.
  • Study the gorillas in their environment and learn first hand from local wildlife specialists about conservation issues in their respective countries and areas.
  • Help improve environmental awareness and attitudes of local communities towards great apes by conducting educational art workshops and creating mural paintings together with schoolchildren in three local primary schools and develop educational posters for distribution to 30 local schools in the forest adjacent communities.
  • Participate in surveys in order to observe Cross River Gorillas in the tropical rainforests of the Lebialem Highlands, South West Cameroon.
  • Complete original paintings of the Cross River Gorilla and its habitat, the tropical highland rainforests, as well as of other local highly endangered primates, such as the Guenons, Drill and Mandrill.
  • Develop an exhibition of resulting artwork for display in Africa, Canada, US and Europe.
  • Raise funds and awareness for a primate rescue center and the protection of the Cross River Gorillas in the wild through the donation of art works and a traveling exhibition.
  • Promote the work of the African Conservation Foundation, Limbe Wildlife Center and the Artists for Conservation in Africa in Canada and internationally through exhibitions, painting in public galleries and a fundraising and publicity campaign including workshops and media events.
  • Report about the Expedition through a variety of media including an interactive geoblog, web diary, video and webcast.
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