“The presence of the chimpanzee in Senegal is strategic to secure its northernmost habitat, and it is also crucial to protect and restore if necessary the UICN’s priority area for chimpanzee conservation of the Fouta Jallon in Guinea”, reports Jane Goodall Institute NGO. The main threats faced by the chimpanzee in this territory are: deforestation and habitat degradation by human activities on top of logging (agriculture, farming, wild fruit gathering, and pollution of water courses).
The Jane Goodall Institute reports that the subspecies Pan Troglodytes Verus (West African Chimpanzee) is endangered in the region and presents reduced numbers in Senegal (ranging between 200 and 500 individuals), while numbers in Guinea are higher (between 17 and 22,000 individuals, UICN, 2004) although with an extremely high fragmentation of the habitat. JGI also appoints: “It is crucial to protect and restore if necessary the UICN’s priority area for chimpanzee conservation of the Fouta Jallon in Guinea”.
The Fouta is not only home to the biggest population of chimps in West Africa, it is also considered the water tower of the region. The three main rivers in the region have its source on the Fouta Jallon massif: the Gambia, the Senegal and the Niger River, providing the water needed in many countries from Mauritania to Nigeria that allows the subsistence of millions of Africans. “Protecting the Fouta’s forests is without doubt the most urgent priority in terms of human subsistence and biodiversity conservation in the region”, reports the JGI. Among other important species, “chimpanzee’s survival is especially critical due to several reasons”. To start with, chimpanzees attract tourism, which is an essential activity to improve life standards for the communities in the long term. Secondly, chimpanzees are one of the best indicators of the conservation status of the forests and the ecosystem in general. Finally, the Dindefelo’s Community Reserve, a protected area managed by the local population, is becoming one of the most important centers for nature research in the region and that will enhance the arrival of professors and students which will increase local capacities for better management of the environment. The Jane Goodall Institute concludes that “the recently created (2010) 13300 ha Community Reserve of Dindefelo, and its future cross border enlargement to reach around 74,000 ha on the Guinean side will help achieve both goals, for chimpanzee conservation and ecosystem protection and restoration”.
Source: Jane Goodall Institute.