Hope for the World’s Most Endangered Chimp
- New plan will increase long term survival of Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee
- WCS developed plan with government officials, other conservation groups, and scientists
NEW YORK (June 27, 2011) – The world’s most endangered subspecies of chimpanzee got a much needed shot in the arm today when government officials, conservation groups, and scientists released an action plan to bolster numbers of this critically endangered great ape.
Known as the as the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, the subspecies, first identified in 1997, is restricted to pockets of forested habitat in both nations. Between 3,500 and 9,000 remain in the wild clinging to a region of high human population density and subject to habitat destruction, fragmentation, and poaching. These factors have led to the extinction of the chimp across much of its former range.
The plan, endorsed by the governments of both nations, is co-authored by 20 primate experts and conservationists representing 17 organizations. It calls for region-wide actions including: improving transboundary collaboration and law enforcement, conservation research, participation and support of local people, recruitment and training of rangers, and improving community livelihoods.
“This plan is a roadmap to the future of the critically endangered Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee,” said James Deutsch, WCS Director for Africa Programs. “We commend the governments of Nigeria and Cameroon for their leadership in pledging to save this living example of their natural heritage.”
Implementation of the priority conservation actions proposed in the plan would protect over 95 percent of the remaining Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees over the next five years. The estimated cost of implementing the plan is $14.6 million.
Protecting the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee would also safeguard other primate species including the critically endangered Cross River gorilla, drill, Preuss’s monkey, and Preuss’s red colobus, which share the same habitat.
The plan was generously supported by the Great Ape Conservation Fund of the USFWS and the Arcus Foundation.
Copies of the plan can be downloaded at www.ellioti.org.
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