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Hope for world’s most endangered chimp

18/07/2011 11:17:02

New plan will increase long term survival of Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee

July 2011: The world's most endangered subspecies of chimpanzee has had a much needed shot in the arm, with a newly released action plan to bolster numbers of this critically endangered great ape.

ACTION PLAN: Efforts to save the few remaining 
Nigeria-Cameroon chimps have been drawn up

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.

A living part of countries' natural heritage
The plan, endorsed by the governments of both nations, is co-authored by 20 primate experts and conservationists representing 17 organisations. 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,  Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) director for Africa programmes. ‘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 more than 95 per cent 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.

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