Chimpanzee © Clara Nobbe
Manila, 27 October 2017 - Chimpanzees - which share some 99 per cent of their DNA with us - are in trouble, despite national protection efforts across Africa, says the world-renowned conservationist Ian Redmond.
Redmond was speaking from the Philippines where he is participating in this year’s largest global wildlife summit. The triennial meeting of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS COP12), which opened in Manila on Monday, 23 October, has agreed to list Chimpanzees on both its Appendices to offer them much-needed trans-border protection.
It is for this reason that chimpanzees, although not normally considered migratory, are in critical need of joined-up conservation measures – and where the CMS can step in, Redmond said. “Listing on the Appendices of CMS does not just mean adding the species’ name on a piece of paper. It provides stronger legal protection and a framework for collaborative action ranging from joint anti-poacher patrols to higher penalties when wildlife criminals end up in court.”
It is illegal to hunt chimpanzees in all the 21 Range States, and by definition hunting them is poaching whether inside or outside a protected area. Despite the efforts of law enforcement agencies and the support of many donor countries, NGOs and IGOs, hunting still presents a serious threat and is responsible for many of the reported declines - in some countries.
Conversion of forest into farmland, the growth of extractive industries, an increase in major transportation infrastructure – regarded as key to Africa’s development – are all cited by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as impacting the chimpanzee’s habitat. They also suffer from a range of tropical diseases, further threatening the species.
Humans benefit from chimpanzees in many ways: People want to see them in the wild and ecotourism provides much-needed income for local communities. Apes are also among the most important seed dispersal agents in African forests.
By Ian Redmond, Ambassador to the Convention on Migratory Species
Last updated on 27 October 2017