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

ly protected, would safeguard 96 percent of known chimpanzee populations (estimated to total some 50,000 individual animals). However, the total numbers of eastern chimpanzees across their whole range is poorly known and the models estimated that the total population may number as many as 200,000 (almost double the estimates that had been made previously).

"It is clear that we know about the distribution and abundance of only a quarter of the world population of the eastern chimpanzee", said Dr Liz Williamson, IUCN's Species Survival Commission Great Ape Coordinator, "there are large areas of the Congo basin where we know very little about this ape". The plan identifies key areas for future surveys that are likely to be of importance for chimpanzees using the models developed from the data compiled.

The plan also targets two of the greatest threats to the species illegal hunting and traffickingwith a goal of reducing both to half of current levels across most of the animal's range. Other objectives include: reducing the rate of forest loss in chimpanzee habitats; filling in knowledge gaps in chimpanzee distribution, status, and threats; improving the understanding of health risks to chimpanzee populations, including human-transmitted diseases; increasing community support for chimpanzee conservation; and securing sustainable financing for chimpanzee conservation units.

"The Plan will require considerable support from the global community approximately $315,000 per chimpanzee conservation unit, or $5 million each year but will ensure the continued survival of eastern chimpanzees in their natural habitats," said Dr. James Deutsch of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Africa Program. "The conservation of wild populations is important not only for conservation, but also for the survival of chimpanzee cultures in the region that are invaluable to helping us define our own place within the natural realm."

The eastern chimpanzee
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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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