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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lack of conservation effort rapidly increases African great ape extinction risk

Sandra Tranquilli, Michael Abedi-Lartey, Fidele Amsini, Luis Arranz, Augustus Asamoah, Ogunjemite Babafemi, Nsengiyunva Barakabuye, Genevieve Campbell, Rebecca Chancellor, Tim R.B. Davenport, Andrew Dunn, Jef Dupain, Christina Ellis, Gilles Etoga, Takeshi Furuichi,Sylvain Gatti, Andrea Ghiurghi, Elisabeth Greengrass, Chie Hashimoto, John Hart, Ilka Herbinger, Thurston C. Hicks, Lars H. Holbech, Bas Huijbregts, Inaoyom Imong, Noelle Kumpel, Fiona Maisels, Phil Marshall, Stuart Nixon, Emmanuelle Normand, Leonidas Nziguyimpa, Zacharie Nzooh-Dogmo, David Tiku Okon, Andrew Plumptre, Aaron Rundus, Jacqueline Sunderland-Groves, Angelique Todd, Ymke Warren, Mundry, Christophe Boesch & Hjalmar Kuehl (2011) Lack of conservation effort rapidly increases African great ape extinction risk Conservation Letters doi: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2011.00211.x

A network of resource management areas (RMAs) exists across tropical Africa to protect natural resources. However, many are poorly managed and weakly protected. We evaluated how the lack of conservation effort influences the extinction risk of African great apes. We compiled information on presence/absence of primary (law enforcement guards) and secondary (tourism,research) conservation activities and nongovernmental conservation organizations (NGOs) support for 109 RMAs over the last 20 years. Along with these data, we collected environmental and anthropogenic variables, including recent records of ape presence/absence for all RMAs. As expected, law enforcement as a primary activity was the best predictor of ape survival rather than tourism or research as secondary activities. Furthermore, long-term NGO support had a significant positive influence on ape persistence. Our study demonstrates the feasibility of evaluating the relative importance of different conservation activities, an important step towards more evidence-based approaches in ape conservation.

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