Chimpanzee reintroduction projects currently underway at PASA sanctuaries in Congo and Guinea have put more than 50 chimpanzees back into the wild, and three Cameroon sanctuaries are preparing to double that number through reintroduction programs in the next few years. But the cost, which can easily double a sanctuary's budget, is just one of the many obstacles to more widespread reintroduction.
"Reintroducing primates is not simple," Cress explained. "Deforestation and poaching make many areas unsuitable for reintroduction, and human encroachment has resulted in communities living in many of the national parks and protected areas. Also, it can be difficult to build a social group of chimpanzees that is physically and emotionally strong enough to survive a reintroduction. That's why the number of released animals remains relatively small compared to the number of orphans in need of care. Lifetime care in sanctuaries is the most frequent option for orphaned primates."
Chimpanzees can live up to 50 60 years, so the commitment for lifetime care is substantial.
The study analyzed historic demographic patterns and projected future population dynamics of these select sanctuaries which housed (at that time) 760 chimpanzees. The median age was 9 years old, with 76 percent of the population being less than 15 years.
Lincoln Park Zoo chimpanzee behavioral researcher Steve Ross, PhD, co-author on the research, explained that as chimpanzees age and reach sexual maturity, group dynamics shift, making social structure an important component for future management plans for PASA sanctuaries.
"Older chimpanzees can be subject to aggression and social dishar
|Contact: Sharon Dewar|
Lincoln Park Zoo