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In a last 'stronghold' for endangered chimpanzees, survey finds drastic decline
Date:10/13/2008

rate since the time of the last survey. That catastrophic decline in chimpanzees is especially strong in forest areas with low protection status, where the researchers saw no sign of the chimps. Even in protected areas like Marahou National Park, chimpanzees have clearly suffered since surveillance and external funding support were disrupted by civil unrest in 2002.

"Following my transect lines in Marahou National Park was similar to doing so in classified forests throughout the country, where I had to search long and hard to find any wild trees," Campbell said. "It was saddening that I only found one nest in this park, as during the previous survey they found 234 nests along the same transects. The one nest I did find was also in an area that had just been cleared for agriculture."

The only remaining refuge for the dwindling West African chimpanzees is Ta National Park. However, this population is also extremely threatened by poaching activities, Boesch said. External financial support in that park is scheduled to end in 2010, a move that will probably have disastrous consequences for the last vestiges of chimpanzees in Cte d'Ivoire.

"The comparisons between the results within national parks in Cte d'Ivoire and compared with the classified forest sends a very clear message: populations of wild chimpanzees living in protected areas with constant funding for conservation activities can survive even during period of rapid increase in human populations and political unrest," Boesch said. "We must appeal to the international conservation community to invest in sustainable funding of conservation activities in national parks with known importance for chimpanzee populations. Our results show that this works."


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Contact: Cathleen Genova
cgenova@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

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