Considered a priority area in West Africa for the conservation of the Western chimpanzee, Guinea-Bissau is a regional refuge for primates. For the last decade, however, habitat destruction and illegal hunting became powerful forces driving the decline of Guinea-Bissau primates. Logging and mining companies have destroyed large areas of habitat, which exacerbated illegal hunting for primate bushmeat, trade of infant chimpanzees and primate body parts used in traditional medicine. Entire chimpanzee groups have disappeared already and the last remaining populations are becoming increasingly isolated and highly vulnerable to extinction. Despite this conservation emergency, governmental agencies and national conservation NGOs are incapable of coordinating efforts. The location of the last remaining populations is unknown and a systematic method to define and prioritize the most important areas for conservation is lacking. This project aims at developing a long-term, sustainable, country-scale conservation management strategy within a collaborative working group dedicated to primate conservation. We will survey the current distribution of chimpanzee populations and of other primates and evaluate their conservation status. Populations most vulnerable to extinction and natural ecological corridors used by multiple species will be located using a combination of genetic and spatial analytical tools and modelling exercises. In collaboration with governmental agencies and key NGOs, areas where conservation resources are better allocated will be selected. Areas for law enforcement, habitat restoration, environmental education and public engagement will be identified and included in the Action Plan. Primate conservation efforts will be articulated for the first time in Guinea-Bissau.
Funding agency: Born Free Foundation
Budget: 20 000€
Project Code: n/a
Principal investigator: MJF Silva