Posted in 06/11/2008


The population of chimpanzees in west of Africa that lives in Ivory Coast has declined 90% in 20 years. According to a census developed in 1990, there were 12.000 live chimpanzees, considering the number of nests in a specific region. Using the same methodology in the same area in 2007, the number did not reach 1.200.


This alarming decrease is a result of forest destruction and uncontrolled hunting, according to the scientists who have published their work in the journal Current Biology. One of the authors of the paper, Christophe Boesch, commented: "The result was very dramatic because we did not found any chimpanzee in the majority of the areas that we had found them in 1990". And added: "We expected a decline, but not so bad as this."


Ivory Coast had 12 millions people in 1990 and now has 18 millions. There are regions in Africa that the order is to catch the great primates on the forests to sell their meat. Professor Boesch assumed that the best way to save the primates is to create policy forest areas. It is already observed that the decrease in the number of primates is these areas is smaller, because the hunters find more difficulties.


He added that the future of our closest relatives will be very sad if a global conservation programme involving the international community is not set. And concluded: "If they do not survive, I ask myself what this means to the future of humanity. What if we allow these species to disappearω It is a real tragedy."