When This Happens To Humans It's Called Genocide: West African Chimpanzee Population Shows Dramatic Declines

chimpanzee photo

photo: owenbooth

To be fair, even when this sort of thing happens to humans its often not called genocide for political reasons, but that's what it is nonetheless. The BBC is reporting the findings of researchers examining population declines of West African chimpanzees in the Ivory Coast over the past 20 years. The results are both startling, sickening and somehow to be expected:
90% Decrease in 20 Years
Due to increasing levels of deforestation and poaching (attributable to the 6 million person increase of the Ivory Coast's human population), over the past 20 years the chimpanzee population has decreased from about 12,000 individuals to about 1,200 today, a 90% population decrease.

'...There Were Now None Left'
Researcher Cristophe Boesch described the findings,

Our results show that there has been an alarming decline in chimpanzee numbers, and that urgent action is required to prevent them disappearing entirely. The dramatic result was that in most areas where we had found chimpanzees (in 1990), there were now none left.

He went on to describe how hunting as entirely eliminated chimps from some areas, calling it "empty forest syndrome"—the forest itself is intact but it has be depopulated of chimps.

Conservation Key to Protection
So what's the best way to prevent further declines? Prof. Boesch says that conservation efforts are key. He cites chimp populations inside the Tai National Park, which have "fared much better" over the past 20 years (though doesn't state whether these populations too have declined, remained stable, or increased at all).

via: BBC News
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