Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Catastrophic decline of Africa’s apes, Nature says

07.04.2003


Logging, illegal hunting, and Ebola caused nearly 60 percent decline since 1983



Scientists say chimps and gorillas now ’critically endangered’


Scientists from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, Princeton University and other organizations have reported in the latest issue of the journal Nature that a dramatic decline of gorillas and chimpanzees is taking place in western equatorial Africa, the last stronghold for great apes on the continent. Ravaged first by a wave of commercial hunting, and more recently by an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, gorillas and chimpanzees could be pushed to the brink of extinction during the next decade without immediate protective measures, scientists warn.


Looking at populations in the central African nation of Gabon, which still retains 80 percent of its forest cover, scientists discovered a 56 percent drop in chimpanzee and gorilla numbers had taken place between 1983 and 2000. Such a decline justifies that both species should be reclassified from "endangered" to "critically endangered" according to World Conservation Union criteria, the authors of the study say.

"This is a catastrophic decline of great apes in an area that contains the bulk of the world’s remaining populations. If chimps and gorillas continue to disappear at the current rate, our closest relatives will be confined to a few small pockets in a matter of years," said the paper’s lead author, Dr. Peter Walsh, a WCS biologist based at Princeton University.

"If chimpanzees and gorillas are in trouble in Gabon, an area known for its pristine, unbroken forests, than we have a species-wide crisis on our hands when it comes to saving these animals," said WCS conservationist Dr. Lee White, who has worked in Gabon for the past decade. Dr. Walsh and his colleagues say that aggressive investments in Ebola prevention, law enforcement and protected area management are needed to ensure the survival of these two species. The head of WCS’s Field Veterinary Program, Dr. William Karesh, says that experts agree that expanded field research on Ebola transmission in wildlife populations is urgently needed, as current knowledge is inadequate to intervene effectively in the epidemic. More support is also required to fight the wave of ape poaching that has followed the intrusion of mechanized logging into once remote areas.

Scientists believe the great ape decline is not restricted to Gabon. Neighboring Republic of Congo and other countries in the region have higher human densities and worse deforestation than Gabon. An outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in Gabon nearly a decade ago may have wiped out tens of thousands of gorillas and chimps. The disease has emerged again more recently in Gabon and the Congo with gorillas and chimpanzees rapidly dying. Scientists also suspect that widespread civil unrest in Democratic Republic of Congo has caused further declines among gorillas and chimps in that region.

"Western equatorial Africa is the last natural refuge for the western gorilla. To see the results of a data-rich study such as this one – it’s mind-boggling how bad this news is," said Dr. John Robinson, senior vice president of WCS’s International Conservation Programs. "While WCS is already addressing many of the issues affecting great apes including bushmeat hunting, logging and Ebola, clearly this study is a call to action that conservationists have to double their efforts if we want to continue to save great apes in the wild."

Stephen Sautner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wcs.org/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
23.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>