|Great Apes running out of places to live say scientists|
|Written by Ronald Ho, Four Green Steps|
|Wednesday, 17 October 2012 15:34|
Scientists have recorded a dramatic decline in the amount of habitat suitable for great apes, according to the first such survey across the African continent.
Various organizations and scientists joined to conduct the first continent-wide survey of suitable great ape habitat. The finding of the research indicates that many of the ape populations we still find today will disappear in the near future.
Gorillas have been significantly affected. Cross River gorillas have seen 59% of their habitat disappear over the past two decades. Eastern gorillas, the largest gorilla and largest surviving primate, have lost 52% of their habitat, while western gorillas have lost 31%.The various species and subspecies of chimp have also suffered.
The pressures on the great apes vary significantly depending on region.
In western Africa, the loss of suitable habitat is being driven by forest clearance and hunting.
In Central Africa, huge swathes of pristine forest remain, but it is no longer suitable for great apes due to the extensive hunting that occurs within to supply the trade in bush meat.
One of the researchers, Dr Hjalmar Kuehl, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, who helped organize the research said that in an increasingly crowded world with demand for space, wood, mineral resources and meat, apes would continue to disappear and without a fundamental change in perception of how precious apes and their habitats are the current situation will not improve.
Image courtesy of Carl Feldman on Flickr.
Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites