“Sanctuaries and big wildlife conservation organizations have to hold the government’s feet to the fire,” he says. Recently, when animal traffickers were tipped off that the authorities were closing in, they fled. With habitat loss, hunting and wildlife trafficking taking their toll, chimps have now disappeared completely from four countries in the region. “We are a very proud organization,” he says. These strong community links also help with law enforcement. One of Amarasekaran’s key achievements has been persuading the government to declare the chimpanzee the national animal. Established in 1964, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. A chimpanzee reaches towards the camera at Tchimpounga in the Republic of the Congo. ... Eleven hectares of forest have been planted in 2020, and 26 hectares are scheduled for 2021. Extractive Industries Will Now Have to Consult with Primate Experts Ahead of Projects In 2003, conservationists created a first-of-its kind action plan to protect the Western Chimpanzee, a unique subspecies once widespread across West Africa. Chimpanzees are one of our closest relatives, sharing an estimated 98% of their genes with humans. The chimpanzee population within the park was esti-mated to be around 3000 individuals in the early 1980s, it declined to about 300 individuals in late 2010 (N'Goran et al., 2012). “We don’t go around with our hat begging. The Maryland Zoo is welcoming a baby female chimpanzee to first-time mom Raven, a crucial addition to the Baltimore zoo’s chimpanzee population. In the 1970’s, for example, records indicated a population size of around 200. A distinction has also been made between individual animal welfare, as practiced by the sanctuaries, and protection on a population level, as championed by intentional conservation groups, Farmer says. Around 80% of the country’s forests were lost between 1960 and 2010. Sanctuary managers are passionate, Greer says, but they’re rarely traditionally trained conservationists. “A lot of the sanctuaries work in a bubble and aren’t necessarily as collaborative as they could be.”, Most are reluctant to be audited, he says, or reveal details about the activities they are undertaking, their performance and their conservation impact. “Police and other law enforcement agencies don’t want to arrest someone who has a live chimpanzee if there’s nowhere to put it — they don’t want to be taking care of a baby chimp for the next 50 years.”. Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are classified as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. Mongabay is a U.S.-based non-profit conservation and environmental science news platform. So, he says, “we have decided to focus on the 5,000-6,000 chimps that are still left in the wild and … on stopping them coming to the sanctuary.”, Tully says he agrees. Dramatic habitat loss by 2020 threatens the population of the planet's most endangered chimp subspecies, according to new research. sified forests. By integrating communities into conservation initiatives, Raballand says, people become “drivers of change” and develop a much greater respect for local biodiversity, leading to far fewer conflicts between humans and chimpanzees. Twenty-three organizations operate as part of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA), which was established in 2000 and now looks after 915 chimps in 13 countries. It gave him the leverage to push for changes to Sierra Leone’s out-of-date wildlife laws too, and give the new national symbol greater protection against traffickers and poachers. In 1999, Raballand took the post of project manager at Chimpanzee Conservation Center (CCC) in Guinea’s Haut Niger National Park, which now boasts the highest density of chimpanzees of any West African protected area. One continued subject of discussion is whether evidence of population-level handedness in primates is confined to studies in captive animals or whether it is in both captive and wild subjects. The work … Today, the largest populations are found in Côte d'Ivoire and in Guinea. Range States Chimpanzees have been observed to soak up water with leaves. As such, we are working to ensure chimpanzees can live and thrive in their natural habitats. You may republish Mongabay content in your publication at no cost, A Madagascar forest long protected by its remoteness is now threatened by it, Alleged gov’t-linked land grabs threaten Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains, Fueled by impunity, invasions surge in Brazil’s Indigenous lands, Chinese demand and domestic instability are wiping out Senegal’s last forests, 2020’s top ocean news stories (commentary), ‘Tamper with nature, and everyone suffers’: Q&A with ecologist Enric Sala, New paper highlights spread of organized crime from global fisheries, Study: Chinese ‘dark fleets’ illegally defying sanctions by fishing in North Korean waters, Brazilian woman threatened by Amazon loggers wins global human rights award, Tropical forests can take the heat, study finds. Chimpanzees and bonobos are sister species that diverged around 1.8 million years ago as the Congo River formed a geographic boundary and they evolved in separate environments. Cheetah Population In Iran. Working to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and nature. The Bossou apes have a unique relationship with the village population. “Some of them are just so busy trying to ensure the welfare of the animals they are maintaining in captivity that they don’t have much time to develop strategic planning or project impact monitoring,” he says. These findings suggest that a positive relationship may exist between environmental variation and the partitioning of genetic variation found in chimpanzees across this region. The eastern chimpanzee ranges from the Ubangi River/Congo River in Central African Republic and DRC, to western Uganda, Rwanda and western Tanzania. But he says he also fears that unless they adopt a more proactive approach to law enforcement, they risk becoming dumping grounds where the rich can get rid of their chimp status symbols with impunity. Tacugama is considered to be one of theirs.”. “The majority are traumatized, dehydrated, they might have bullet wounds … They are experts at providing the triage … and getting those animals well again.”, Running a sanctuary is often a hand-to-mouth existence, Farmer says, with a constant battle to find operational funding. “If that connection is not made, then we are wasting our time.”. Every day, Mongabay reporters bring you news from nature’s frontline. Where they don’t exist, trafficking is rife, the authorities turn a blind eye, and the country often becomes a hub for the illegal trade. David Greer, who also worked in primate conservation for 25 years, including a stint at the WWF and running a wildlife sanctuary, says he agrees that sanctuaries play a pivotal role in chimp conservation. Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) mother with youngster, captive, Chimfunshi Orphanage, Zambia. This particular species is known as the Asiatic or Iranian cheetah and it has suffered severe population decline over the last 50 years or so. We hope to bring 10-20 more in 2020. This page was last edited on 16 December 2020, at 12:22 (UTC). West Africa’s chimpanzee population has dropped dramatically since the 1960s, falling from an estimated 1 million to fewer than 300,000 today. Evidence from fossils and DNA sequencing shows that Pan is a sister taxon to the human lineage and is humans' closest living relati… This page was last changed on 21 August 2020, at 21:36. In the 1960s, there were an estimated 1 million wild chimpanzees in West Africa. “That is the power that we do not have directly,” he says. © 1986 Panda Symbol WWF – World Wide Fund For Nature (formerly World Wildlife Fund), Guide to identifying ecosystem services in protected areas, Conservation of western chimpanzees in Tai National Park, Côte d'Ivoire, Conservation and monitoring of Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees in Gashaka Gumti National Park, Nigeria, Conservation of the Tongo populaton of eastern chimpanzees in the Virunga ecosystem, DRC, Supporting government efforts to supervise the management of Campo Ma’an National Park, Cameroon, and encourage sustainable use of forest resources in its buffer zone, Conservation of central chimpanzees in Mengame, Cameroon, Assisting the Ministry of Water and Forests in the Minkebe Conservation Project, a 6,000km2 area recently declared as a national park in Gabon. “If we didn’t have Tacugama, where would we be taking all these captured chimpanzees?” he says. Within 30 minutes they were inundated with phone calls about the poachers’ whereabouts. sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “Do you just capture them and return them to the forest? “It’s unfair to think that sanctuaries are not doing enough,” Amarasekaran says. FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. The dramatic decline in the Gombe chimpanzee population is largely due to a significant reduction in suitable forested habitat for the great apes. Ecological Region Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda Dryness? The chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), also known as the common chimpanzee, robust chimpanzee, or simply chimp, is a species of great ape native to the forest and savannah of tropical Africa. “For these reasons, while PASA members would like to reintroduce more primates to the wild, it isn’t a top priority,” Tully says. “[They] need to enforce the law and establish deterrents.”, “In many African countries, the laws about wildlife are sadly outdated,” says PASA director Tully. “They have no management whatsoever of the wildlife trade.”. “Sanctuaries are sometimes considered to be some roadside circus,” Amarasekaran says. It’s also easy to miss the point about why sanctuaries exist in the first place, she says. Strengthening  the cross-border Odzala-Minkebe-Dja Trinational Landscape (TRIDOM) complex of protected areas in Gabon, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. But in all, PASA has released just 61 chimpanzees back into the wild, although 200 more live on large islands, where they can mix with other chimp populations and remain safe while living with little human care. WWF treats priority species as one of the most ecologically, economically and/or culturally important species on our planet. “A sanctuary isn’t just about taking care of the animals. They have strong connections with the government and have spent years pushing to make changes happen and get government officials to realize that these chimpanzees have value as an iconic species,” Tully says. “Great apes are very susceptible to human respiratory diseases, as we share 98% of the same DNA,” Tully says. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 29, 2020 Chimpanzee Born at the Saint Louis Zoo Important addition to the population of this critically endangered species. What sanctuaries offer, says PASA executive director Greg Tully, is somewhere for the authorities to put confiscated chimps. (I accept). Humans are wiping out chimpanzee cultures. Others will have suffered at the hands of hunters, victims of a lucrative trade that sees adults shot for bushmeat and  juveniles sold on the black market to end up as pets or as entertainment in hotels, circuses and zoos in Africa and beyond. ... All told, chimps may kill and eat a third of the Gombe’s colobus population each year. A new memorandum of understanding is on the table that could establish the Akatia sanctuary. Rehabilitating and releasing a chimpanzee back into the wild is expensive. This theoretical competition for funds is another reason why sanctuaries have been criticized, but it’s a point Tully is quick to refute. DONATE HERE. Poaching and disease also put the wild population at risk. As a result, sanctuaries are taking extra precautions to minimize the risk of coronavirus affecting the animals, with many staff remaining on site 24/7 to reduce the risk of bringing the chimps into contact with the virus. “You focus on the goal, not about who did it.”, Babar Turay, a conservation manager at Sierra Leone’s National Protected Area Authority, an agency within the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, has worked closely with Amarasekaran. Chimpanzees have already disappeared from 4 African countries, and are nearing extinction in many others. Guinean Moist Forests, Congolian Coastal Forests, Cameroon Highlands Forests, Northeastern Congo Basin Moist Forests, Central Congo Basin Moist Forests, Western Congo Basin Moist Forests, Albertine Rift Montane Forests, Yellow: Western chimpanzee distribution Purple: Central chimpanzee distribution Sudan Area and Population Density. Along with bonobos, they are our closest living relatives, sharing 98.7 percent of our genetic blueprint. The center also works with local villages. “Their raison d’être is rescuing these animals … which arrive in the most appalling conditions,” she says. At the forefront of the battle to save the western chimpanzee is a network of sanctuaries. Subsistence hunting of chimpanzees as a source of meat is nothing new, but there is now a thriving but unsustainable commercial market for bushmeat (the meat of … While Amarasekaran describes reintroductions as “every sanctuary manager’s dream,” the reality can be different. Utamu (pronounced oo-TAH-moo), an 18-year-old chimpanzee at the Saint Louis Zoo, gave birth to a yet-to-be-named female baby around 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, at Jungle of the Apes. Chimpanzee Utamu gave birth to a yet-to-be-named female baby around 3:30 a.m. yesterday, Oct. 28, 2020. These safe havens can have a dramatic effect on the countries where they are established, caring for individual animals while also working to help stabilize populations, tighten laws, and stop the illegal trade in wildlife from flourishing. Whether nonhuman primates exhibit population-level handedness remains a topic of considerabe theoretical and empirical debate. Ecotourism is also an important income stream for the project, he says. 7, 2019 , 2:00 PM. Candid Animal Cam spots badgers, Top 10 environmental news stories of 2020. “They provide a humane setting for these animals to live out the remainders of their lives but that also comes with some responsibilities,” he says. By Gretchen Vogel Mar. So do its elephants, Activists in Malaysia call on road planners to learn the lessons of history, Road-paving project threatens a wildlife-rich reserve in Indonesia’s Papua. Yet in all this, Amarasekaran says he is careful to make sure it is the authorities, not the sanctuary, that takes the plaudits. In Iran, an even smaller population of cheetahs can be found. Many are also having to deal with a new threat, in the form of COVID-19. Big conservation groups might get multimillion-dollar research grants, but sanctuaries don’t attract that kind of money. “It’s not just a case of opening a cage door and letting them go.”. “We work very closely with the government and they don’t look at us as an outside entity. Sanctuaries are there for the long term, he says, and this allows them to build up trust with communities, play a role in alleviating poverty, and develop better relationships with the authorities. 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