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One of the last strongholds for Western chimpanzees
Date:4/9/2014

This news release is available in German.

When Liberia enters the news it is usually in the context of civil war, economic crisis, poverty or a disease outbreak such as the recent emergence of Ebola in West Africa. Liberia's status as a biodiversity hotspot and the fact that it is home to some of the last viable and threatened wildlife populations in West Africa has received little media attention in the past. This is partly because the many years of violent conflict in Liberia, from 1989 to 1997 and from 2002 to 2003, thwarted efforts of biologists to conduct biological surveys. An international research team, including scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has now counted chimpanzees and other large mammals living in Liberia. The census revealed that this country is home to 7000 chimpanzees and therefore to the second largest population of the Western subspecies of chimpanzees. As Liberia has released large areas for deforestation, the local decision-makers can now use the results of this study in order to protect the chimpanzees more effectively.

Following the complete war-time collapse of the country's economy, Liberia's government has been trying to fuel economic growth by selling large amounts of its rich natural resources, including rubber, timber and minerals. Here, accurate biological datasets on the distribution and abundance of wildlife populations are key for making evidence-based management decisions that balance economic and conservation priorities. In addition, they are important for locating and delineating conservation priority areas, making assessments of anthropogenic threats, and proposing mitigation measures to policy-makers.

To close this data gap, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ev
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Contact: Sandra Jacob
info@eva.mpg.de
49-341-355-0122
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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