Up close with a gorilla

Elodie and Louis-Marie travel to Mbalmayo, a town 45km south of Yaoundé, where they meet some very special primates.

Gorillas in the wild

The rarer Eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei) lives only in the eastern Congo region of the DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda - see Uganda, Geography & Wildlife


The forests of southern Cameroon are home to Western gorillas (Gorilla gorilla), which can be found in just six African countries – Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.

In Cameroon, as elsewhere, the gorilla's habitat is threatened by logging, hunting for bushmeat and the clearing of forests for agriculture.

Meet Bobo

Gorillas typically live in groups of up to 30 animals, headed by a male like Bobo. Elodie’s very impressed with him, especially when the keeper tells her Bobo is over 20 years old.

Male gorillas (known as ‘silverbacks’) frequently show off their strength by tearing off branches and shaking trees. But Bobo’s obviously not in the mood to show off today. He’s happy to be the proud and silent type – although not all the time! If you watch the video, you’ll find out one noise gorillas like to make, perhaps to show they’re not impressed by us.

The sanctuary is a project of the Mefou National Park (supported by the Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund and Ape Action Africa), where primate protection and conservation is the key concern. Elodie and Louis-Marie also have chance to see other residents of the sanctuary, such as the chimpanzees.