Chicago (March 14, 2011) Every year throughout Africa, primate rescue centers are flooded with chimpanzee orphans, primarily victims of the bushmeat trade. When adults are killed for meat the surviving infants are often offered for sale as pets, and those that get confiscated by law enforcement are taken to sanctuaries for care.
A new study, published in the International Journal of Primatology, examines 11 Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) member facilities, predicting their carrying capacity for chimpanzees and provides a roadmap for long term resource, infrastructure and financial planning.
Lead author Lisa Faust, PhD a research biologist with Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo said, "The most sobering part of this study is realizing that most of these institutions already report being at capacity or close to capacity, and yet on average the group of sanctuaries are collectively faced with accepting 56 new chimpanzee arrivals every year, most of them under the age of two to three years old. Because chimpanzees are long-lived, this means that most of the sanctuaries will need to sustain or increase their current size, because they will continue to accept new arrivals as part of their commitment to chimpanzee welfare and law enforcement."
Chimpanzees are an endangered species, and while poaching is illegal it remains a major problem threatening their continued survival.
"PASA sanctuaries play a vital role in helping rescue and rehabilitate chimpanzees and other endangered primates, and that is our main objective," said Doug Cress, executive director of PASA. "But it's easy to get caught up in the day to day fight for survival and lose perspective. This study is so important because it allows us to step back and see where we'll be in the coming years and decades and to plan accordingly. Population modeling on this level is a wonderful tool."
A chimpanzee that survives the physical and emotional trauma o
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Lincoln Park Zoo