Falémé Chimpanzee Conservation Project

To protect chimpanzees in Senegal through research, education and collaboration

 

The Falémé Chimpanzee Conservation Project (FCCP) began in 2010 in response to increased mining activity in the chimpanzee habitat of south-eastern Senegal. West African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) are an endangered species that have already been extirpated in Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso, and now face the same risk in Senegal where their numbers linger in the hundreds. The FCCP focuses on chimpanzee communities living in the Falémé region of Senegal, which has been targeted by multinational mining corporations for both gold and iron ore. The precious metals also attract local communities whose artisanal mining activities employ the poisonous chemical mercury to separate gold from ore. Both large-scale open pit mines and local artisanal mines incite habitat disturbance, degradation and destruction and threaten the country's remaining chimpanzee population, intensifying the need for conservation efforts in the region.

 

It is not possible to consider the elimination of mining in Senegal, as the industry has the potential to better the country's economy and reduce poverty at a local level, if managed appropriately. The most viable strategy now is to understand the effects mining has on the habitat and chimpanzee populations in Senegal and thus mitigate negative impacts. By working with the local communities, national and local government agencies, private mining industries and conservation organisations to establish sustainable and environmentally sound practices, we can conserve and protect the chimpanzees and the habitat in which they live.

 

To reach the conservation goals, the FCCP focuses its attention on the three following objectives: research, education and collaboration.

 

WAZA Conservation Project 11020 is implemented by Kelly Boyer (Iowa State University), with support provided by Houston Zoo and Blank Park Zoo. Other stakeholders involved in the project include the USFWS Great Ape Conservation Fund, Margot Marsh Biodiversity Fund and Fongoli Savanna Chimpanzee Project.

 

Visit www.houstonzoo.org/chimpanzees-of-senegal

 

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