Redwood City, CA – July 22, 2009 — The Gorilla Foundation, home of Koko the lowland gorilla who can speak to us through the use of America Sign Language, announced today that it has chosen Cameroonian scientist Denis Ndeloh Etiendem as the recipient of its 2009 Wildlife Protectors Award. Mr. Ndeloh is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Human Ecology at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He will use his $10,000 award funds (made possible by donations from Eric and Catherine Raymond’s Save the Species Foundation and the Dawn and Raymond Arnall Foundation) to begin groundbreaking work studying Cross River Gorillas, the most critically endangered subspecies of gorilla. His project will focus on Southwest Cameroon’s Mawambi hills, home of an isolated group of Cross River Gorillas, which have never been studied or protected.
Dr. Penny Patterson, co-founder, president and research director of The Gorilla Foundation, states, “We’re proud to recognize Mr. Ndeloh’s important work studying the Cross River Gorillas of Cameroon. His research will greatly enhance our understanding of the ape’s ecology and provide a dynamic picture of overlapping human-gorilla forest use, critical to the preservation of these amazing creatures.”
The award will support Mr. Ndeloh’s pilot study this summer, as prelude to his long-term doctoral research effort. The presence of Mr. Ndeloh and his research team on the ground will reduce the conservation threat to the gorilla population of the Mawambi region, while permanent conservation and management plans are produced for the area.
Mr. Ndeloh, the first Cameroonian from the Cross-Sanaga region to pursue a doctorate in primate conservation, states, “The Gorilla Foundation has been a great supporter of great ape research, conservation and education. I’m proud to be honored with this award and very thankful for the foundation’s support in furthering our work with the Cross River Gorillas.”