Wild chimpanzees inhabiting in the Dindefelo Community Reserve, south of Senegal, depend almost exclusively on a fruit called Lare in the local language (Saba senegalensis) at the peak of the dry season. Not only is Lare a keystone resource for chimpanzees, but specifically for the families living in this area who derive a great percentage of their annual income from this wild fruit harvest. It is a very popular product in cities like Dakar, where it is consumed prepared as a juice or just raw. In the past two years massive exploitation and uncontrolled bush fires have reduced into a minimum the amount of Lare in its natural habitat.
To solve this situation citizens of the Dindefelo Rural Community have taken an extraordinary and courageous decision based on the technical reports from the Jane Goodall Institute Spain (IJGE) and Management Committee Community Nature Reserve Dindefelo (RNCD): To set an ecological truce for the Lare extraction in all the forests of the Community during the year 2013.
This means that many families will no longer economically benefit from the Lare harvest, important income during the year. The role of the income generated by this harvest has an enormous effect on the economy of the harvesters and their families. Due to the Lare truce extraction this year, the Rural Community and the Jane Goodall Institute Spain are financially compensating the families involved. Also and most important, together, they are creating new sustainable alternatives to harvesting wild Lare: They have put in place Lare nursery beds and the saplings are being transplanted to reforest protected areas along with other wild species like Thiale (Spondias mombin), also eaten by chimpanzees. Families who harvested wild Lare are now responsible of taking care, growing and transplanting the Lare nurseries back into the forest.
We don’t know if it’s due to this program, but the fact is that the researchers from The Jane Goodall Institute working in the area have confirmed the return of the chimpanzees to certain important fruiting areas where there used to be conflicts between locals and chimpanzees themselves. Now everyone seems to be more at ease! You can see the video of the Dindefelo chimpanzees, caught on a camera trap put by the research team last week.