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Study looks at gorillas, elephants and logging in Congo
Date:5/6/2010

NEW YORK (May 6, 2010) The Wildlife Conservation Society announced the results of the first-ever evaluation of a large, "landscape-wide" conservation approach to protect globally important populations of elephants and great apes.

The study looked at wildlife populations in northern Republic of Congo over a mosaic of land-use types, including a national park, a community-managed reserve, and various logging concessions. It found that core protected areas coupled with strong anti-poaching efforts are critical for maintaining populations of forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees.

The region, known as the Ndoki-Likouala Conservation Landscape, is considered one of the most important sites in Central Africa for all three species. The Wildlife Conservation Society has been working in the landscape since 1991 and helped establish Nouabal-Ndoki National Park in 1993.

The study appears in the April 23rd edition of the journal PLoS One. Authors include Wildlife Conservation Society researchers Emma Stokes, Samantha Strindberg, Parfait Bakabana, Paul Elkan, Fortun Iyenguet, Bola Madzoke, Guy Ame Malanda, Franck Ouakabadio and Hugo Rainey; Brice Mowawa of the Ministre de l'Economie Forestire, Republic of Congo; and Calixte Makoumbou, formerly with WCS Congo Program.

The authors found that protected areas remain a key component of the landscape for all three species. Chimpanzees and elephants are particularly sensitive to human disturbance outside the Nouabal-Ndoki National Park, and the park plays a major role in their distribution. In fact Nouabal-Ndoki National Park may be one of the most important sites for chimpanzees in the Congo Basin with some of the highest densities recorded in Central Africa.

The study also found that logging concessions that have wildlife management in place, including protection of key habitats and anti-poaching patrols, can support important populations of elephants
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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert

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