Why Target the NWC?

We know little about the current status of P. t. ellioti in the NWC. Even basic information on relative population distribution and density, data which are essential in establishing conservation measures, are lacking. At the moment, most of what we know about P. t. ellioti in the NWC comes from informal monitoring, like reports from local villagers.

 

ACTION PLAN

Regional Action Plan

To date, there have been no North-West regional surveys on chimpanzees in Cameroon.

In 2011, the IUCN published a Regional Action Plan for the Conservation of the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee (Morgan et al., 2011). In the report, [downloadable here: nigeria-cameroon-chimpanzee-action-plan-2011-english-2.pdf nigeria-cameroon-chimpanzee-action-plan-2011-english.pdf], the authors highlighted several areas (throughout Cameroon and Nigeria) for which there was, and remains, an urgent need for systematic surveys. These areas were defined as priority survey sites - sites where "significant populations of chimpanzees are believed to persist, but about which we have insufficient information for them to be ranked in terms of conservation priority" (Morgan et al. 2011). In the NWC, these two areas were the Tubah-Awing complex and the Fungom Forest Reserve (see our METHODS & SURVEY SITES). Two sites were also desginated as priority conservation sites - the Kom-Wum and Ako-Mbembe Forest Reserves - with the Kom-Wum Forest Reserve listed as an 'exceptional priority conservation site' (see Morgan et al. 2011, pp. 14, for more info. on rankings)

Following recommendations from the IUCN report, Osiris A. DOUMBE – former Roehampton University graduate student – conducted the first survey on chimpanzees in the NWC in 2013. As part of his thesis [downloadable here:  Doumbé, 2013.pdf Doumbé, 2013.pdf], he surveyed the Babanki-Finge Forest (the most northern part of the Tubah-Awing complex) in the Bamenda Highlands. Recognizing a dearth of information on relative chimpanzee population density in the NWC, and expanding on his previous work, Doumbé established the ELLIOTI PROJECT – a study which seeks to conduct formal surveys on P. t. ellioti throughout several other sites in the NWC.

STUDY IMPLICATIONS

Mapping animal distribution and estimating relative population density is an essential aspect of conservation-based research. The data can answer questions such as:

1. What is the baseline density or total number of animals that can be monitored in the future?

2. Where are the smallest and largest populations located?

3. Which populations are most viable? 

4. Which areas of natural habitat would be the best to link in order to facilitate movement between different populations, and ultimately increase gene flow?

5. Have there been changes in numbers since a previous census period?

By conducting a regional survey of P. t. ellioti in North-West Cameroon, we will be able to provide the necessary data to help answer these questions, and ultimately contribute to the development of an effective and immediate conservation action plan for the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, as well as sympatric animal and plant species. Our long-term goal, in collaboration with local NGOs and the Cameroonian government, is to develop a wildlife corridor that connects forest patches of the North-West region to the South-West region of Cameroon.

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Doumbé OA. (2013) Habitat Mapping of the Babanki-Finge Forest, and Survey on the Rarest Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) in the Bamenda Highlands, North-West Cameroon. MRes Master: University of Roehampton, London, UK.

Morgan B. et al. (2011) Regional Action Plan for the Conservation of The Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti). IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and Zoological Society of San Diego, CA, USA.

*"Study Implications" adapted from Plumptre, A.J., & Cox, C. (2006). Counting Primates for Conservation: Primate Surveys in Uganda. Primates. 47: 65-73.

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