Chimp populations continue to decline in Africa. A new survey of our closest relatives in the Cote D’Ivoire found that the population fell from an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 individuals to a paltry 800 to 1,200, a decline that took place in less than twenty years.
Perhaps most troubling about this new survey is Cote d’Ivoire was supposed to be a stronghold for chimpanzees in West Africa. The report warnsit is likely that similar declines have occurred in other West African nations.
Researchers point to an increase of humans in Cote d’Ivoire as the primary reason. Since 1990 the nation has seen its human population grow by 50 percent. This has lead to increases in poaching and deforestation, activities which target both chimps and their habitat.
“The habitat is gone, and all the protected areas have been invaded by people. It’s not just the chimps—[there’s] no animals at all,” lead author Genevieve Campbell told National Geographic.
In the 1960s it was estimated that chimpanzee population in Cote d’Ivoire was 100,000 individuals.
(01/19/2009) For many endangered species it is not the lack of suitable habitat that has imperiled them, but hunting. In a talk at a Smithsonian Symposium on tropical forests, Elizabeth Bennett of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) outlined the perils for many species of the booming and illegal wildlife trade. She described pristine forests, which although providing perfect habitat for species, stood empty and quiet, drained by hunting for bushmeat, traditional medicine, the pet trade, and trophies.
(03/17/2008) conservationists in Rwanda have launched an ambitious reforestation project that aims to create a forest corridor to link an isolated group of chimpanzees to larger areas of habitat in Nyungwe National Park. The initiative, called the Rwandan National conservation Park, is backed by the Rwandan government, the Great Ape Trust of Iowa, and Earthpark, a group seeking to build an indoor rainforest in the U.S. Midwest.
(12/03/2006) Endangered chimpanzees are disappearing in the West African country of Guinea according to a report from Reuters.