Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study finds the forgotten ape threatened by human activity and forest loss

27.11.2013
Most detailed assessment of bonobo across range conducted by University of Georgia, University of Maryland, WCS, and other conservation groups

The most detailed range-wide assessment of the bonobo (formerly known as the pygmy chimpanzee) ever conducted has revealed that this poorly known and endangered great ape is quickly losing space in a world with growing human populations.

The loss of usable habitat is attributed to both forest fragmentation and poaching, according to a new study by University of Georgia, University of Maryland, the Wildlife Conservation Society, ICCN (Congolese Wildlife Authority), African Wildlife Foundation, Zoological Society of Milwaukee, World Wildlife Fund, Max Planck Institute, Lukuru Foundation, University of Stirling, Kyoto University, and other groups.

Using data from nest counts and remote sensing imagery, the research team found that the bonobo— one of humankind's closest living relatives —avoids areas of high human activity and forest fragmentation. As little as 28 percent of the bonobo's range remains suitable, according to the model developed by the researchers in the study, which now appears in the December edition of Biodiversity and Conservation.

"This assessment is a major step towards addressing the substantial information gap regarding the conservation status of bonobos across their entire range," said lead author Dr. Jena R. Hickey of Cornell University and the University of Georgia. "The results of the study demonstrate that human activities reduce the amount of effective bonobo habitat and will help us identify where to propose future protected areas for this great ape."

"For bonobos to survive over the next 100 years or longer, it is extremely important that we understand the extent of their range, their distribution, and drivers of that distribution so that conservation actions can be targeted in the most effective way and achieve the desired results," said Ashley Vosper of the Wildlife Conservation Society. "Bonobos are probably the least understood great ape in Africa, so this paper is pivotal in increasing our knowledge and understanding of this beautiful and charismatic animal."

The bonobo is smaller in size and more slender in build than the common chimpanzee. The great ape's social structure is complex and matriarchal. Unlike the common chimpanzee, bonobos establish social bonds and diffuse tension or aggression with sexual behaviors.

The entire range of the bonobo lies within the lowland forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa and currently beset with warfare and insecurity. The research team created a predictive model using available field data to define bonobo habitat and then interpolated to areas lacking data. Specifically, the team compiled data on bonobo nest locations collected by numerous organizations between the years 2003-2010. This produced 2364 "nest blocks," with a block defined as a 1-hectare area occupied by at least one bonobo nest.

The group then tested a number of factors that addressed both ecological conditions (describing forests, soils, climate, and hydrology) and human impacts (distance from roads, agriculture, forest loss, and density of "forest edge") and produced a spatial model that identified and mapped the most important environmental factors contributing to bonobo occurrence. The researchers found that distance from agricultural areas was the most important predictor of bonobo presence. In addition to the discovery that only 28 percent of the bonobo range is classified as suitable for the great ape, the researchers also found that only 27.5 percent of that suitable bonobo habitat is located in existing protected areas.

"Bonobos that live in closer proximity to human activity and to points of human access are more vulnerable to poaching, one of their main threats," said Dr. Janet Nackoney, a Research Assistant Professor at University of Maryland and second author of the study. "Our results point to the need for more places where bonobos can be safe from hunters, which is an enormous challenge in the DRC."

Dr. Nate Nibbelink, Associate Professor at the University of Georgia, added: "The bonobo habitat suitability map resulting from this work allows us to identify areas that are likely to support bonobos but have not yet been surveyed, thereby optimizing future efforts."

"By examining all available data provided by a team of leading researchers, we can create the kind of broad-scale perspective needed to formulate effective conservation plans and activities for the next decade," said Dr. Hjalmar S. Kühl of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

"The fact that only a quarter of the bonobo range that is currently suitable for bonobos is located within protected areas is a finding that decision-makers can use to improve management of existing protected areas, and expand the country's parks and reserves in order to save vital habitat for this great ape," said Innocent Liengola, WCS's Project Director for the Bonobo Conservation Project and co-author on the study.

"The future of the bonobo will depend on the close collaboration of many partners working towards the conservation of this iconic ape," said Dr. Liz Williamson of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and coordinator of the action planning process which instigated the bonobo data compilation for this study. In 2012, the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN) and the Congolese Wildlife Authority (ICCN) published a report titled Bonobo (Pan paniscus): Conservation Strategy 2012-2022.

The authors of the study are: Jena R. Hickey of Cornell University; Janet Nackoney of the University of Maryland; Nathan P. Nibbelink of the University of Georgia; Stephen Blake of the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology; Aime Bonyenge of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Sally Coxe of the Bonobo Conservation Initiative; Jef Dupain of the African Wildlife Foundation Conservation Centre; Maurice Emetshu of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Takeshi Furuichi of the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University; Falk Grossmann of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Patrick Guislain of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee; John Hart of the Lukuru Foundation; Chie Hashimoto of the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University; Bernard Ikembelo of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Omari Illambu of the World Wildlife Fund-DR Congo; Bila-Isia Inogwabini of the World Wildlife Fund-DR Congo; Innocent Liengola of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Albert Lotana Lokasola of the Kokolopori Bonobo Nature Reserve; Alain Lushimba of the African Wildlife Foundation Kinshasa Office; Fiona Maisels of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Stirling; Joel Masselink of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Valentin Mbenzo of the Congo Basin Ecosystems Conservation Support Program (PACEBCo), DR Congo; Norbert Mbangia Mulavwa of the Center of Research in Ecology and Forestry (CREF), Ministry of Education and Scientific Research, DR Congo; Pascal Naky of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Nicolas Mwanza Ndunda of the Center of Research in Ecology and Forestry (CREF), Ministry of Education and Scientific Research, DR Congo; Pele Nkumu of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Gay Edwards Reinartz of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee; Robert Rose of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Tetsuya Sakamaki of the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University; Samantha Strindberg of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Hiroyuki Takemoto of the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University; Ashley Vosper of the Wildlife Conservation Society; and Hjalmar S. Kühl of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

This study was made possible by the generosity of many supporters.

John Delaney | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wcs.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Scientists from the MSU studied new liquid-crystalline photochrom

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>