Chimpanzee Conservation

Conserving chimpanzees and their habitats in southwest and Niger Delta Nigeria: The Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) has the lowest population size of all the four chimp subspecies and it has a very restricted distribution in Nigeria and Cameroon. The overall aim of this project is to enhance the conservation of the highly threatened populations surviving in four priority sites in south-western and Niger Delta Nigeria through conservation-focused research, stakeholder engagement, systematic conservation planning, community outreach and policy advocacy.  So far our efforts to determine the evolutionary relationships of these chimpanzee populations revealed that they form a distinct group reinforcing their conservation importance. Going by our recent spatial calculations, over 80% of the forest is already lost due to uncontrolled/excessive levels of farming and logging, while targeted hunting for their body parts used in traditional medicine remains a major threat. Hence, establishing conservation areas within the sites where logging, farming and hunting can be limited and wildlife protection enforced is urgently required to safeguard remnant (vital) populations of this great ape.