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Law enforcement vital for great ape survival
Date:12/8/2011

This press release is available in German.

Recent studies show that the populations of African great apes are rapidly decreasing. Many areas where apes occur are scarcely managed and weakly protected. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have carried out an international collaborative project together with field researchers and park managers. The project aim was to evaluate how the lack of conservation effort influences the extinction risk of African great apes. Records were collected over the last 20 years from 109 resource management areas. The researchers found that the long-term presence of local and international non-governmental organization support and of law enforcement guards are the most crucial factors affecting ape survival, and that they have a clear measurable impact. Conversely, national development, often cited as a driver of conservation success, and high human population density had a negative impact on the likelihood of ape survival.

For the protection of natural resources, and in particular to fight wildlife population decline, it is fundamental to implement measures that are truly effective. How well a particular conservation activity reduces extinction risk of a species has rarely been quantified in comparison to other types of conservation efforts over a long-term and large spatial scale. Such a quantitative comparison is important in helping to direct conservation strategies that will mitigate and reverse the recent decline in many African great ape populations.

This study provides a continent-wide assessment of the relative significance of four different types of conservation efforts: law enforcement guards, tourism, research and non-governmental organizations support. Their effects have been assessed in 109 African resource management areas for the survival of ch
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Contact: Sandra Jacob
jacob@eva.mpg.de
49-341-355-0122
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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