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African nations commit to saving chimps
Date:6/21/2010

NEW YORK (June 21, 2010)The nations of East and Central Africa have developed a 10-year action plan to save one of humankind's closest relativesthe eastern chimpanzeefrom hunting, habitat loss, disease, and other threats, according to an announcement made today by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The ambitious plantitled "Eastern Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii): Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan: 2010-2020"calls for the conservation of 16 core areas which if protected would conserve 96% of the known populations of eastern chimpanzees.

"This effort to assess the status of eastern chimpanzees will help us to focus our conservation actions more effectively," said Dr. Andrew Plumptre, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Albertine Rift Program and the plan's lead author. "In the next decade, we hope to minimize the threats to these populations and the ecological and cultural diversity they support."

In one of the most wide-reaching efforts to assess the status and conservation threats to eastern chimpanzees, conservation practitioners and researchers with experience from all seven range states contributed data on sightings, nests, feeding signs, and vocalizations from the past decade; more than 22,000 GPS-located data points across their range. During a workshop in August of 2009, more than 30 experts from seven countries traveled to Kampala, Uganda to identify priorities for the conservation of the subspecies, and to develop an action plan with specific projects for their conservation. To fill in the gaps in countries currently off limits to research due to conflict, the plan authors formulated predictive models to estimate the density of chimpanzee populations in un-surveyed areas.

In the subsequent range-wide priority setting analysis, workshop participants identified 16 chimpanzee conservation units that, if successful
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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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African nations commit to saving chimps
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