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PAN Africa News
The western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) is considered as one of the most threatened ape species, facing a dramatic decline over the last decade1,2. The latest conservation action plans classified Senegal as “an exceptionally important priority area” for chimpanzee protection, which demands immediate attention3. Chimpanzees have been expatriated from at least two African countries and IUCN estimated the Senegalese population to be almost extinct, numbering between 200 and 4004. Most apes range in small isolated communities in intense sympatry with local ethnic groups. Major threats include human encroachment, deforestation for crops, gold and iron digging, along with limited pet trade5. Additionally, this population lives at the northern edge of species’ distribution, in extremely hot, dry and open savanna landscape that characterized an important transitional period in human evolution6. Chimpanzees though have a mythical relation with Senegalese people; therefore local folklore and taboos allows them to share space. This project is part of the investigation “Conservation of chimpanzees in south-eastern Senegal: the human element” supervised by JD Pruetz. Initially, we identified ape communities in Bandafassi Arrondissement, their ranging patterns, key water and food sources, and particularly chimpanzees’ relation to humans via an ethnoprimatological approach7.
PAN Africa News
Gašperšič, Maja and Pruetz, Jill D., "Chimpanzees in Bandafassi Arrondissement, Southeastern Senegal: Field Surveys as a Basis for the Sustainable Community-Based Conservation" (2011). Anthropology Publications. 16.