US Fish and Wildlife Service funds conservation planning in Tanzania

The future of chimpanzees is precarious in all of their 22 range countries – including Tanzania, where we continue Jane Goodall’s groundbreaking chimpanzee behaviour research and partner with villages to promote conservation and sustainable livelihoods.

Now, in a new partnership partly funded by the US government, JGI will partner with the Tanzanian government, academia and other NGOs to develop a comprehensive action plan focused on guaranteeing the long-term survival of chimpanzees in Tanzania.

The Tanzanian government is committed to chimpanzee conservation. It is a signatory to the International Convention on Biodiversity (ratified in 1996), a range state member of the Great Apes Survival Plan and a signatory to the Kinshasa Declaration on Great Apes. To ensure survival of chimpanzees in Tanzania, the government needs a reasonable estimate of the status of chimpanzees in the country as well as data to inform decisions about key sites for conservation.

Threats to chimpanzees in Tanzania include unsustainable agriculture, fuel wood extraction, logging, expansion of human settlements, disease and a growing problem of hunting for bushmeat and witchcraft.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Ape Conservation Fund will help JGI and partners develop strategies designed to abate the most critical threats to chimpanzees and their habitats. These will include strategies to:

•    prevent disease outbreaks in wild chimpanzee populations
•    identify conservation needs and preserve important chimpanzee habitats outside protected areas
•    policy reforms to benefit the species

The goal is for the Tanzanian government to adopt the Chimpanzee Conservation Action Plan as a conservation blueprint. The plan also will serve as a guide for other organizations and NGOs interested in chimpanzee welfare.

The IUCN Conservation Breeding Specialist Group’s Population and Habitat Viability Assessment (PHVA) process will be used to bring together primatologists, population biologists, wildlife and land managers, legal experts and others. They will use simulation models of wildlife population dynamics to understand threats and develop creative and inclusive solutions.  For example, simulation models will predict infectious disease threats – one of the most significant dangers for chimpanzees as human populations increasingly overlap with chimpanzee ranges. Partners also will analyze laws related to chimpanzee protection and make recommendations for improvements.

JGI’s partners include the Wildlife Division of Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the Conservation Breeding Special Group of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society and Frankfurt Zoological Society.
 

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