This is a subspecies of the western Gorillas. It was named a new species in 1904 by Paul Matschie, a mammalian taxonomist working at the Humboldt University Zoological Museum in Berlin, but was not systematically surveyed of its populations until 1987. The most recent surveys suggest that between 200 and 300 Cross River gorillas remain. Groups of these gorillas concentrate their activities in 11 localities across a 12,000 km² range, though recent field surveys confirmed the presence of gorillas outside of their known localities suggesting a wider distribution within this range. This distribution is supported by genetic research, which has found evidence that many Cross River gorilla localities continue to maintain contact through the occasional dispersal of individuals.
Cross River Gorillas can be sighted in Cameroon, Nigeria and Cameroon.