The Wildlife Conservation Society and IUCN announced yesterday that they have developed a new plan to help preserve the eastern chimpanzee population. The plan would protect 16 areas where eastern chimpanzees are known to live, containing 96% of their known populations. The "Eastern Chimpanzee: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan; 2010-2020" focuses on eradicating illegal hunting and trafficking, conserving the forests where the chimps reside, and researching chimpanzee health risks.
The eastern chimpanzee is an endangered subspecies of the common chimpanzee. They reside in forests in Africa, ranging throughout Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo. The primates share 98% of the genes with humans and have fascinated people because of our similarities. Because of this, they have been kept as pets and used for scientific experimentation, as they are susceptible to many of the same diseases as we are. They are omnivores, but subsist mostly off vegetation. Even though they are smaller than people, weighing less than 150 pounds in adulthood, they have five to six times our strength, having far more effective muscles than we do.
Habitat destruction is the number one threat, which is why an emphasis has been placed on it in the creation of the new chimpanzee protection plan mentioned above. Logging, road building, burning forests, and general development of the regions have greatly reduced the places where the chimpanzees can thrive. They are also poached for their meats, captured to be sold as pets, and sometimes intentionally killed to protect a farmer's crops. It is hoped that the ideas set forth by the "Eastern Chimpanzee: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan; 2010-2020" will prove worthwhile in the quest to conserve the eastern chimpanzee species.
via IUCN News