Western chimp numbers revised up to 53,000, but development threats loom

first_imgCorrection: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the estimated western chimpanzee population in Senegal is nearly 6,000; in fact the study estimates this population to be around 2,600.  Article published by terna gyuse A new survey of data from the IUCN’s Apes Database indicates that there are nearly 53,000 western chimpanzees in West Africa.The number is significantly higher than previous estimates, which placed the population closer to 35,000, but the subspecies remains categorized as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.The authors of the study say their findings can help governments in the region ensure that proposed infrastructure projects do as little harm to the remaining chimpanzee populations as possible. Nearly 53,000 western chimpanzees live in the forests and savannas of West Africa, a higher number than previously thought, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.The study finds that just 17 percent of this population lives inside high-level protected areas, and points to a series of proposed development corridors as among the potential threats to chimpanzee populations in the region.Earlier estimates placed the population of western chimpanzees (Pan troglogytes verus) at closer to 35,000. Drawing on a larger number of surveys included in the IUCN database for the subspecies, the authors of the latest study say they were able to more accurately estimate both population and distribution.Set up to encourage researchers to share their findings with one another, the IUCN database has proved vital in providing conservationists and policymakers with a sharper picture of ape populations in West Africa and elsewhere. Three-quarters of the studies used to develop the new population estimate for western chimpanzees are unpublished; Stefanie Heinicke, a researcher with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and lead author of the survey, said the census would not have been possible without the database.“Because we were able to use so many datasets shared by the collaborators with the IUCN SSC A.P.E.S. Database, we were now able to for the first time model the western chimpanzee density distribution across their entire range, including unsurveyed areas,” she told Mongabay in an interview. “This explains why our estimate is higher.”Findings contained in the database, for example, allowed the authors to revise estimates for the western chimpanzee population in Senegal up from a few hundred to around 2,600. The new study will better equip governments in the region to understand how development corridors and other infrastructure investments can be designed with conservation of this population in mind.Nearly 11,000 kilometers (7,000 miles) of foot surveys were carried out between 2001 and 2016 to gather the data presented in the report.“The datasets used in this paper came from 58 separate surveys in different places across the range of the species,” Fiona Maisels, a co-author of the paper, told Mongabay. “They are all nest count surveys, which means that researchers walk a series of lines within each of the areas surveyed looking for chimp nests.”Guinea holds largest populationThe study focused on the critically endangered western chimpanzees, one of four chimpanzee subspecies. They are found to the west of the Dahomey Gap that separates Central African forests from those in West Africa.The largest population of western chimpanzees was found in the Fouta Djallon region of north-central Guinea, where cultural taboos against hunting chimpanzees are strong and industrial-scale economic activity is low compared to other parts of the region. The study indicates that just over three-quarters live in “savanna-mosaic forests,” with the rest living either in dense rainforests or, more rarely, cropland habitats.While the new census figure is higher than previous estimates, western chimpanzees remain in peril. A 2017 study calculated that their numbers had declined by a staggering 80 percent since 1990. Even with the upward revision, the subspecies remains categorized as critically endangered on the IUCN’s Red List, or just one step away from being extinct in the wild.The majority of western chimpanzees were said to be living in relatively close proximity to human activity: 67 percent within 10 kilometers (6 miles) of human settlements, and 88 percent within 10 kilometers of roads. The study suggests that plans for further development — including mines, dams and a series of planned development corridors that would extend roads, irrigation and other infrastructure in the western chimpanzee’s range — could pose dangers to the region’s remaining population.Development projects a potential threatThe number of western chimpanzees in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire plummeted due to large-scale deforestation and widespread hunting linked to the expansion of industrial agriculture. The study used data on four proposed development corridors to show how they could threaten remaining chimpanzee populations, particularly in cases where new roads would cut through high-density habitats. Development of infrastructure there and in other areas where western chimpanzees live could lead to further declines in their numbers.Workers on a forestry concession in Rivercess County, Liberia. Photo by Flore de Preneuf/PROFOR, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0Policymakers and leaders in the region view development corridors as a means of lifting rural citizens out of poverty and integrating the economies of neighboring countries. But according to the study, just over 10 percent of the remaining western chimpanzees in the region live within 25 kilometers (16 miles) of the four proposed corridors.One would link the Guinean capital of Conakry to the Liberian port city of Buchanan, in the process bisecting a series of dense forests along border areas in the two countries. Some of those forests contain large western chimpanzee populations, raising fears that increased economic activity would also raise demand for bushmeat and damage habitats the animals rely on. Researchers say they hope the study will help give policymakers a tool to reduce the impact of infrastructure development on the subspecies.“What we can do now is identify if these corridors are cutting through high-density areas for chimpanzee populations, so this is really about informing land use and conservation planning,” Heinicke said. “For example, one could redirect planned roads to avoid these areas.”CITATIONHeinicke, S., Mundry, R., Boesch, C., Amarasekaran, B., Barrie, A., Brncic, T., . . . Kühl, H. S. (2019). Advancing conservation planning for western chimpanzees using IUCN SSC A.P.E.S. — the case of a taxon-specific database. Environmental Research Letters. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ab1379Banner image: Western Chimpanzees at the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary near Freetown, Sierra Leone. Photo by BigMikeSndTech, licensed under CC by 2.0 Animals, Apes, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Community-based Conservation, Conservation, Conservation And Poverty, Deforestation, Endangered Species, Energy, Environment, Forests, Governance, Habitat Destruction, Habitat Loss, Infrastructure, Logging, Mammals, Palm Oil, Plantations, Poaching, Primates, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Roads, Tropical Forests, Wildlife center_img Ashoka Mukpo is a freelance journalist with expertise in international development policy, human rights, and environmental issues. His work has been featured in Al-Jazeera, Vice News, The Nation, The Guardian, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter at @unkyoka.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Peruvian communities demanding crude cleanup brace for more oil activity

first_imgForests, Land Conflict, Land Use Change, Oil, Rainforests, Tropical Forests The Peruvian government is set to announce a new operator for an oil concession that sits in the basins of the Pastaza, Corrientes and Tigre rivers, in the country’s Amazon region.Indigenous communities living in the affected area must be consulted because their territorial rights will be affected by a new oil contract for Block 192.These communities are continuing to demand that the Peruvian government fulfill its obligation to clean up the 32 highest-priority spill sites affected by earlier oil exploration and extraction activities that date back to the 1970s.Among their demands are that the government provide specialist medical services, clean drinking water, and publish the full results from a health study carried out in 2016, which showed excessive levels of toxic heavy metals in the blood of community members. Walking through the tropical forest undergrowth in the Amazonian heat, Elmer Hualinga suddenly stops to observe how tree roots have grown around a rusty barrel. Close by, the remains of an engine lie partially buried, not far from the rusty door of a pickup truck.This forest was once virgin territory. Following exploration and oil production that began in the 1970s under the name 1AB, the area around this village of wooden houses and unpaved roads became a waste dump. Here, and in 31 other sites inside the Block 192 oil concession, a cleanup operation is now set to take place.Hualinga is 36 years old and has three children. He continues to be concerned about the long-term impact of the nearly five decades of pollution on the streams, rivers, plants, fish and animals that his family and indigenous communities depend on for their survival.Environmental monitor Elmer Hualinga examines waste discarded near the city of Nuevo Andoas in Block 192. Image © Barbara Fraser.Next, he stops beside a small, murky pool of water. “The smell of this place isn’t natural. It’s a horrible smell, the smell of decomposing metals.”Footprints in the mud show that animals are being drawn to the salty water of the polluted pool, just as they are attracted to the natural colpas (salt licks) in the Amazon. But this salt comes from the residue of oil extraction.“This is the souvenir left behind for us by the oil companies,” Hualinga says.A new plan for an old oil fieldAt the start of 2019, the Peruvian government announced it would assign a new operator for Block 192, an oil concession that covers some 4,900 square kilometers (1,900 square miles) in the river basins of the Pastaza, Corrientes and Tigre, located in northern Peru near the border with Ecuador. The area is mainly inhabited by the indigenous groups of the Achuar, Kichwar, Quechua and Urarina people.According to the Ministry for Energy and Mines, the new 40-year contract will run for 40 years. In accordance with Peruvian legislation, the indigenous communities whose territorial rights will be affected by the new contract will participate in an initial four-month consultation process.Four indigenous federations known collectively as the “four basins” — FEDIQUEP from Pastaza, FECONACOS from Corrientes, OPIKAFPE from Tigre and ACODECOSPAT from Marañón, which is supporting three areas within Block 192 — delivered a proposal to develop the initial consultation to the Ministry of Energy and Mines on Jan. 17.Indigenous organizations have spent more than a decade fighting for polluted areas to be cleaned up and for medical services to be made available for the people living in the country’s largest oil fields. However, concerns over the industry’s impacts on human health and the environment as well as money for future cleanups remain strong.The indigenous organizations are demanding that the meetings to develop the consultation plan, as well as those for the consultation itself, take place within the communities in the block to allow the inhabitants to participate. They also propose that the contract model be formalized and that this process detail factors including environmental management, benefits for the communities, and the cleanup of damage.Panorama of oil block 192. Image courtesy of Andina.Health is a key theme for the consultation, according to leaders of the “four basins,” a reference to the three tributaries to the Marañón River located within the concession. The Marañón joins the Ucayali downriver to feed into the Amazon.The indigenous organizations are demanding specialist medical services for people who have heavy metals in their bodies, clean water for drinking and cooking, a guarantee of food safety, and that the full results of a health study carried out by the National Center for Occupational Health and Environmental Protection (CENSOPAS) are made public. During the study, conducted in 2016, urine and blood samples were taken, surveys were carried out and further samples of the soil, water, air and food were collected. To date, only partial results have been published.Those results included findings that some people had levels of cadmium and lead in their urine and blood that exceed the permitted thresholds. Also the presence of barium and lead in the floors of some houses and soil in some fields was discovered in levels higher than environmental quality standards.The National Ombudsman’s Indigenous People Program referred to these health issues in a report published October 2018, which recommended that the government ensure financing to complete the health study, as well as monitoring people found with heavy metals exceeding the maximum permitted levels. They also requested the development and coverage of a health plan for the affected communities.As part of the preparations for the cleanup of the contaminated areas, workers take a ground sample from a zone used as a waste area near Nuevos Andoas in Block 192. Image © Barbara Fraser.Another demand made by the indigenous communities centers around the cleanup of the pollution that has accumulated over the course of five decades. Most of the time, the water produced from the region’s oil wells — hot, salty and packed with metals — was discarded untreated into the rivers and streams.They now hope that consultants, who are developing cleanup plans for the 32 sites identified by the indigenous organizations as the highest priorities, will finish their work in 2019.Repeated conflicts over the cleanupAn earlier study financed by the Peruvian government, coordinated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and published in August 2018, revealed the complex nature of oil spill cleanup as well as the potential cost.The initial fund of around $15 million has been nearly exhausted. The Ministry for Energy and Mines has earmarked around $53 million from its 2019 budget for cleaning up areas contaminated by oil, but the total cost for cleaning all the prioritized locations could be much higher — and this is just a fraction of all the contaminated sites.The UNDP study recommended prioritizing future cleanup sites based on a risk assessment for human health and the environment. A similar study is planned for 2019 in the neighboring Block 8, another oil block from the same era, also contaminated by spills and waste.The indigenous organizations are asking for the pipe network in Block 192 to be replaced, together with the oil pipeline in northern Peru that transports crude from the Amazon through the Andes to the Pacific coast.Frequent oil spillages have been registered within these areas, according to the UNDP study. The Amazonian section of the northern oil pipeline has also suffered a series of spillages since 2014, due variously to changes in the soil, corrosion, and vandalism.A series of leaks in 2016 caused concern about the state and safety of the pipe. State-owned oil company Petroperú attributed the majority of the spillages to sabotage, although it has never identified those responsible.Wells close to the community of  “October 12” where oil was spilled. Traces can be found in the nearby forest. Image © Barbara Fraser.An investigation by Congress into these oil spills also could not identify those responsible for the vandalism, but they observed that a number of smaller contractors had suddenly been awarded public contracts worth hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.According to Alicia Abanto, who supervises environmental affairs, public services and indigenous affairs for the Ombudsman, the spills are due to “a combination of factors,” and the conflicts relating to the pipelines “are very complex phenomena.”This complexity is demonstrated in the situation of the Wampis community of Mayuriaga, which suffered a spill in February 2016 and again on Nov. 27, 2018. According to community members, Petroperú told them that the first spill was due to abrasion on the pipe caused by sandy soil, but blamed the 2018 event on vandals. Community members refused to let Pertroperú settle the matter, saying the company had not fulfilled their 2016 agreement. The negotiations continue.Environmental monitor Elmer Hualinga examines a spot where oil emerges on the surface of what is usually Lake Shanshacocha, a contaminated area that was drained in what the UNDP called an inadequate attempt at a clean-up. Image © Barbara Fraser.For Elmer Hualinga, who has worked for 10 years as a voluntary environmental monitor in Nuevo Andoas, health continues to be the main concern as the communities prepare for the consultation process.The health study also showed children have levels of heavy metals in their blood and urine exceeding the regulatory thresholds. The health workers told him his 7-year-old daughter was at grave risk.“What can I do as her father to ensure she doesn’t have these metals in her body?” he asks.This article originally appeared in Spanish at Mongabay-Latam on February 7, 2019, here.Banner image by © Barbara Fraser. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Article published by Genevieve Belmakerlast_img read more