There’s many threats to chimpanzees that need to be tackled, these include hunting and habitat loss. In order to ensure that chimpanzees survive countries need to come together to tackle many issues –
- bushmeat trade
- agricultural expansion
- pet trade
Now a number of countries in East and Central Africa have come together to implement a 10 year action plan to deal with these issues. Working together with a number of major NGO’s such as Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) The countries are working on a plan to protect the Eastern Chimpanzee – currently listed as endangered on the Red Lists.
The plan will concentrate on 16 core areas which contain 96% of the known population. By protecting these core regions about 50,000 individual chimps will be protected. The plan will concentrate on the major issues of
- habitat loss
- wildlife trafficking
Another important aspect of the plan will be a better understanding of the population of wild eastern chimpanzees. Latest models indicate that there could be as many as 200,000 individual chimps which is more than double the current know population. With vast areas of Central and Eastern Africa still relatively unstudied – especially the forests of central Congo – greater studies will improve our knowledge of the spread and size of the species.
The chimpanzee action plan also seeks to get a better understanding of disease within the chimp population especially the spread of disease from humans to the chimps. this is a growing area of concern as humans continue to spread into wilderness areas.
“This effort to assess the status of eastern chimpanzees will help us to focus our conservation actions more effectively,” said Dr. Andrew Plumptre, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Albertine Rift Program and the plan’s lead author. “In the next decade, we hope to minimize the threats to these populations and the ecological and cultural diversity they support.”
The countries that are involved in the plan and which contain ranges of the chimp
- Central African Republic
- the Democratic Republic of Congo
Chimps are a key species and indicate how well the local ecosystem is surviving. By being able to get a greater understanding through the action plan there’s a good chance that the decline of the chimp can be reversed.