The Dzanga Sangha Reserve constitutes part of the habitat of the western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), which lives in the forests across Central Africa (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo [Brazzaville], Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria). The sub-species is still relatively unknown, related to the difficulties in observing these animals in the (dense) rainforest as they travel in search of food. Like elephants and chimpanzees, they serve an important reproductive function within the forest ecosystem, allowing the dispersal and germination of seed from the numerous fruit trees they consume. Since 1988, next to the Bai Hokou clearing can be found a gorilla research station. In 1997, they started habituating gorillas to the presence of humans, a process demanding much time. The first group of gorillas required 4 years of work by the observation teams who followed these animals daily at ever decreasing distances. From 2001, this group could be visited by tourists.
For more information on Western Lowland Gorillas and about the Primate Habituation Programme (PHP) at Bai Hokou please visit the PHP Section.