High Population Density of Pan troglodytes verus in the Haut Niger National Park, Republic of Guinea: Implications for Local and Regional Conservation
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Fleury-Brugiere, MC. & Brugiere, D. Int J Primatol (2010) 31: 383. doi:10.1007/s10764-010-9391-9
- 193 Downloads
The Republic of Guinea harbours the largest population of the endangered western chimpanzees Pan troglodytes verus, and the conservation of this population is regarded as a regional priority. Chimpanzees occur in 3 of the 5 protected areas in Guinea but their conservation status is unknown. We conducted a chimpanzee census in 2001–2002 in the Haut Niger National Park (HNNP), the largest protected area in the country. We counted nests along a total of 103.83 km of transects in the Mafou forest, 1 of the 2 core areas of the park. We recorded a total of 823 nests, of which 38.1% were located in gallery forests, although this habitat type covers only 4.2% of the study site. Using a site-specific mean nest decay rate of 194 days, we estimated the mean density of chimpanzees in the study area at 0.87 weaned individuals/km², the highest density recorded in any West African protected area. A survey conducted in 2008–2009 by other authors in the Mafou forest suggests that the chimpanzee population remained stable over the last 6 yr. Given the significance of the chimpanzee population of the HNNP at the national and international levels, we provide recommendations for its conservation over the long term. Our results highlight the importance of gallery forests as key habitat for chimpanzees in the savannah biome. We therefore recommend that more attention be paid to the conservation of this habitat in land management and conservation planning schemes. In particular, we recommend setting aside gallery forests as ecological corridors between nearby protected areas to maintain exchange between distant chimpanzee populations.