Rare Chance for the Rarest Chimp
June 30, 2011
Only small pockets of forest habitat exist in the nations of Cameroon
for the world’s
. The Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee’s numbers are low and its
threats are high. Until now, its prospects were slim.
Government officials, WCS conservationists, and scientists from 17 organizations have come together to give this chimp a better chance. What’s it going to take? A region-wide plan
for enhanced collaboration and law enforcement along the border area, increased
recruitment and training for wildlife rangers, more conservation research, and improved partnerships
with and sustainable livelihood opportunities for local people.
“This plan is a roadmap to the future of the critically endangered Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee,” said James Deutsch, Director of WCS Africa Programs. “We commend the governments of
Nigeria and Cameroon for their leadership in pledging to save this living
example of their natural heritage.”
Numbers for the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee in the wild fall
somewhere between 3,500 and 9,000. With such a few-and-far-between existence, it’s little
wonder the chimp was just recently identified as its own subspecies in 1997. The
primates also face heavy hunting and tend to flee when they encounter humans. The $14.6 million strategy to ensure its future could protect more than 95 percent of the remaining individuals
over the next five years.
The chimps’ neighbors will benefit, too. Other emblematic wildlife in the area include
critically-endangered Cross River gorillas
, drills, Preuss’s monkeys and
Preuss’s red colobus.
For more information, see the press release.