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Conservation of the common chimpanzee
The common chimpanzee is registered in the Appendix I of the
Washington Convention , which makes their trade and its detention completely prohibited.
This species is classified as in danger by the IUCN (International
Union for the Nature conservation), that is to say subjected at the strong risk of extinction in natural environment in an immediate future. The subspecies the more in danger is the one of the chimpanzee of Nigeria-Cameroun.

State of the populations
Size of the populations decrease in an alarming way. It is estimated that there existed approximately 1 million chimpanzees. We currently estimates their number at approximately 150 000, a dramatic situation. According to IUCN'S, this species disappeared from Benign, Burkina Faso, Togo and probably extinct in Guinea Bissau and in Rawanda
The number of Chimpanzee of Nigeria-Cameroun, the most threatened subspecies, is about 5 000 individuals, those of the Western subspecies, between 12 and 20 000, those of central Africa is about 62 000 and those of Eastern around 96 000.

Threats for the chimpanzee
ø Yombé with his left leg cut of after being cought in a collet trap as he was a babyhunting for the sale of meat and the sale of alive animals, primarily like pets. The poaching is a very gainful employment and always very developed in spite of the actions installation by the various governments. Even if in various areas of Africa, the chimpanzee is regarded as taboo and not being able to be eaten, these habits disappear and the meat consumption of chimpanzee is a current thing.
If at the time of the hunting of adults, babies can be captured alive, that will give place to their sale, primarily like pets. Very often, they do not leave their country of origin. Thus the "baby chimpanzee" is a sub-product of the bush meat. But much of these babies will die even before to be collected. And to keep a chimpanzee in captivity quickly becomes very ificult for the animal and for the man. Often they are kept in captivity under very bad conditions, attach, badly nourished, even beaten. Some will be likely to arrive in a sanctuary. But for a chimpanzee accomodated in one of those sanctuaries divided into Africa, we can estimate that 10 other individuals will have died.

ø the degradation of their habitat by deforestation and fragmentation. Whatever the cause of deforestation (for wood-material, wood energy, agriculture, mining, even oil.), not only of the hectares of forests are destroyed but there is also fragmentation of the remaining forest blocks. These pieces of forest are often too small, too poor to allow a population of chimpanzees to live durably on it. Moreover, this fragmentation leads the various populations of chimpanzees to have less or not exchanges, the result is a risk of consanguinity, prejudicial in the long term for this species.
ø Ebola : this hemorrhagic fever, due to a virus, was observed for the first time in 1976. We primarily observe sporadic peaks of this disease in central Africa. It is characterized by one drills mortality. It is difficult to estimate its impact on the populations of monkeys and great monkeys. But deforestation, bringing to the opening of tracks in the forest, hunting, plus the displacement of potentially contaminated corpses are as many worsening factors, because supporting the dissemination of this disease of a population of monkeys or men with the other.
Other diseases are also at steak, like bacterial coal.
Deforestation, degradation of the habitat, poaching, facilitated propagation of the diseases: all these problems are related to the development of human activities, generally undertaken in an anarchistic and nonconsidered way. These threats apply as well for the chimpanzee as for other species of animals: gorilla, elephant, buffalo, feline, birds, reptiles... But let us not hide those facts, among the species threatened here, we counts also another primate: the man!

Solutions and programs
ø As default, the goal to reach is simple to formulate: to allow free chimpanzees and in good health to live in a viable natural environment.
But the solutions to be set up are more difficult. But if the situation is bad, it is possible to act, as well on the level of the states of the individuals. The solutions to be developed can as well relate to a global solution as on a specific problem. Each one and each action has its place.
ø the fight against the poaching, deforestation are thus in priority the object of the countries. The very large majority of the nations of tropical Africa have a bearing consequent legislative framework on the hunting or the exploitation of the forest resources, legislation often badly applied. But the majority of the countries where chimpanzees live are in the process of development and have limited means. Also, for necessary measurements of police force, it is necessary to take care of the durable development of these nations. The anti-poaching and the fight against deforestation are also in charge of the countries known as developed, in particular while fighting on their territory against the traffic of exotic animals or by reconsidering their demand for wood tropical.
ø In addition, the share of the protected surfaces increases in central Africa. More and more, for a better action, programs of conservation are developed on a several country scale, even on the scale of tropical Africa. We can quote the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP) developed by the UNEP (Program for the Environment of the United Nations) or the "Congo basin
Initiative ". (We propose you to consult "the regional action plan for the conservation of the chimpanzees and gorillas in central Africa")
ø But the individual can also act : on the spot, but also in the developed countries. Each one can act on its level, for the future of the chimpanzees but also, and by the same occasion for the future of the man on this planet: limitation and sorting of its waste, purchases as soon as possible of wood or products derived resulting from forests exploited in a reasonnable way, limitation of behaviors to strong environmental impacts, in particular limitation of the oil consumption and derived, not to buy savage animals, in particular during its voyages in tropical countries...
Associations and NOGs are also privileged actors, at the origin of many positive initiatives, on the spot and also out of the countries concerned. For example, these structures are at the origin of the development of the sanctuaries for primates in Africa, but also of the public awareness campaigns having allowed the implication of the developed countries, principal financial backers of the programmes of conservation of the primates.

ø sanctuaries
The purpose of these infrastructures are the reception in their country of origin of chimpanzees and other alive primates resulting from the poaching. Nearly a thousand of chimpanzees currently live in sanctuaries in Africa. Emergency solution for captive individuals without immediate future, they carry out for the majority of the multiple missions: reception and care of primates, sensitizing, support for the local authorities in their action against the poaching, would be this only by offering a solution for the primates seized by the authorities.
Food for the captive chimpanzés is one of the main aspect of the budget of the sanctuaries The majority of these sanctuaries are gathered in Africa in the same network: PASA for Side African Sanctuary Alliance, to which belonged H.E.L.P. Congo.
It remains that the sanctuaries are only there to answer an emergency need. However, a chimpanzee can live more than 40 years in captivity and we estimate that we need 10 American dollars per day to maintain one of these great monkeys living in a sanctuary. Which future for all these captive chimpanzees in sanctuary? How to limit the flood of newcomers? As many essential questions.
ø the reintroduction in natural environment of chimpanzees
The reintroduction can be seen a durable solution for the chimpanzees living in sanctuary. But one of the essential rules of all programs of reintroduciton of animals is that it is necessary to do everything to limit the risks for the environment but also for the slackened individual. Also, this alternative was regarded a long time as impossible by much, in particular because of the characteristics of the species "chimpanzee", opinion consolidated by the last experiments. Thus, various experiments of this type took place but without convincing result. Between 1966 and 1990, we can quote four of them:

      · The first relates to 17 chimpanzees which were slackened of 1966 to 1969 on the island Rubondo (2400 ha) of Lake Victoria in Tanzania. These monkeys had passed between 3 months and 10 years in captivity and were 4 to 12 years
old . These animals came for the majority from European zoos eager to get rid of animals considered to be too dangerous. Unfortunately, no scientific follow-up was undertaken and no precise census was made. In 1985, we counted a score of individuals there, which in more than 16 years proves that mortality was very strong.
      · In 1968, nine chimpanzees, coming from a laboratory research medical and being 4 to 8 years
old were slackened on the island of Ipassa (65 ha) of the Ivindo river in Gabon. The observation of the group proved that they behaved for the majority as wild chimpanzees but were all the same dependent on a contribution of food. The follow-up lasted until 1978, where the fall of the level of water having involved the escape of two individuals, the others were recaptured.
      · At the beginnings of the Seventies, in the National park of Niokolo-Koba, with the mounts Assirik (Senegal), a project of rehabilitation was undertaken by Stella Brewer. The human ones dealt with the training of the young chimpanzees as for the choices of food (eatable plants) and to the construction of nest. Thereafter, the individuals becoming increasingly independent, were accustomed to freedom until the day when wild individuals attacked them. This brought the placement into 1979 of these same ex-captive on the Baboon islands of the Gambia river, coming to inflate the number of individuals already high on these islands.
      · It is into 1978 that the VILAB (Laboratory of Virology of the New York Blood Center) undertook during 10 years slackened of 58 chimpanzees out of 3 islands of 6, 27 and 28 ha in Liberia. These animals had been used for tests of vaccination against hepatitis. The first goal of these released was to constitute a reproductive colony for the laboratory. Unfortunately, the failure of the first to slacken was characterized by death by drowning of many individuals. This death rate was brought back to 25% at the time of the last to slacken. Thanks to the follow-up of certain individuals carrying a transmitting collar, it was proven that these animals nourished with wild plants and had even learned how to break nuts with stones. However they also always needed to receive a regular provisioning of food. In 1990, the civil war brutally stopped this experiment and all the chimpanzees were victims.
In these four attempts, the animals never found a complete freedom and they were always dependent on the man.
Following  the released chimpanzees to see how they adapt is sometimes dones under difficult conditions At the beginning of 2006, the programme of reintroduction of chimpanzees in natural environment of the H.E.L.P. Project is still the only one in the world. Scale of this program, in particular its scientific follow-up of the individuals given in freedom, and its positive results led the whole of the specialists to reconsider their position: more and more, the reintroduction in natural environment is regarded possible and as a tool, among others, for:
- to contribute
to the conservation of the chimpanzee species ,
- bring a durable solution with the problems of the sanctuaries.
The H.E.L.P. 
Project is now recognized like reference for the reintroduction of chimpanzee by the specialists in the UICN. From today, we made references since various projects of reintroduction are being studied, some requesting our support by way of expertise.
But if we are the first to defend the reintroduction of chimpanzees in natural environment, we are also the first one to say that it is not "the" miracle solution. The sanctuaries should not have to exist! The work upstream of the sanctuaries is thus essential: all must be done so that the chimpanzees remain free in their forests!

More information on our program of reintroduction, to click here.

© H.E.L.P. International - 2006 // last update 22/02/2007